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New Habitat house in Aberdeen a family ‘blessing’

After two years of construction at the Harford Technical High School, the latest Habitat for Humanity Habi-Tech house was transported on Oct. 8 to its final, permanent location on Edmund Street in Aberdeen.

Unlike the previous Habi-Tech houses, COVID-19 caused delays during the latter part of construction when the public schools went to virtual learning. Habitat’s longtime core volunteers were permitted to come into the school and continue building where the students had left off. When in-person learning resumed, the students took over and prepared the house for transporting.

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“We’ve had a long and successful partnership with Harford Tech,” said Habitat Susquehanna’s Director of Construction, Dave Burja. “We are so appreciative of the ongoing support of the principal, and of the hard work and dedication of the teachers, students and volunteers who showed such teamwork under these special circumstances.”

The high school has built nine such homes for Habitat Susquehanna, seven of which are located in Aberdeen.

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Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing organization that builds affordable homes in all 50 states and 70 other countries around the world. Habitat houses are made affordable by volunteer construction.

“We’ve been doing this since 2005 and the kids love it!” said Mike Svezzese, a career and technical education instructor at Harford Technical High School, during a groundbreaking ceremony held earlier this year for the home. The Habi-Tech project, under the guidance of school instructors, teaches students across the trades programs, such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, all aspects of home design and construction.

“The City of Aberdeen is a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity and we’re happy to be a part of this,” Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady said at the groundbreaking.

According to Yvette Valentin, Habitat Susquehanna’s director of homeowner services, the organization has built or rehabbed 117 homes to date, 69 of them in Aberdeen.

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Iesha Young, mother of a 12-year-old daughter, was selected as the homebuyer of the new Habi-Tech house. Approved home buyers must go through a rigorous financial review process to ensure they are eligible candidates. The eligibility criteria include demonstrating a housing need, an ability to make monthly mortgage payments, and a willingness to partner with Habitat Susquehanna.

As with all Habitat home buyers, Young must contribute 250 “sweat equity” hours building her home or the home of another, take mandatory financial literacy classes to learn good money management skills, and take home maintenance classes. Young will be purchasing the home through a Habitat mortgage made affordable specifically for her.

“This is a beautiful blessing for me and my daughter,” Young said.

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