Margaret Coleman says her new home in Wilmington’s Walnut Ridge represents, “Somewhere I can start my family, kick my shoes off and make red velvet brownies.”
Coleman spoke during a home dedication ceremony on October 12, 2017 that Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC) hosted for five new homeowners, their families and friends, and supporters of Walnut Ridge. Representatives of major donors like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Delaware State Housing Authority, Capital One and DuPont DOW presented Coleman and four other families the keys to their new homes. The new townhouses compose Phase II of the nine-townhome project on the Eastside of Wilmington, DE. Local members of the clergy whose congregations helped fund the foundations for the homes gave each family a bible.
According to HFHNCC, the two acts serve as ceremonial reminders to the homeowners that the entire Wilmington community is invested in their continued success. HFHNCC Chief Executive Officer Kevin Smith thanked the many sponsors including HUD for their support of the development. Bank of America donated the land upon which the homes are built at 4th and Walnut Streets.
“Becoming a homeowner is a huge accomplishment,” said Latayvia Terrell as she addressed the crowd after receiving her keys from Chip Rossi, Market President of Bank of America. “Stability is an important key to child development. Thanks to Habitat, I’m now able to provide stability for my two children.”
Terrell’s neighbor, Stephanie Reeves, agrees that stability is most important to her family. Stephanie Reeves and her family have lived at three different places over the past five years. She says, “Owning a home is a dream, and having an affordable mortgage is a blessing.”
Barbara Washam, President of the Upper Eastside Civic Association, welcomed the new homeowners to the community and shared the amenities that surround them. The townhome development is close to parks, schools, day care centers, churches, the YMCA and a hospital.
Rev. Terrence Keeling of Central Baptist Community Development Corporation blessed the homes and the new homeowners cut their ribbons, held up “Sold” signs, and unlocked the doors of their fully completed homes for the first time.
Family and friends toured the new homes which had hardwood floors for the family and dining rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a washer and dryer and bathrooms and bedrooms upstairs. While the homes were under construction, HFHNCC equipped these first-time homeowners for the responsibilities of homeownership. All of the Walnut Ridge homeowners completed pre-and post-homeownership counseling, financial literacy education, basic construction training, civic responsibility training, and 225 hours of sweat equity. HFHNCC and Eastside Rising are partnering to revitalize the Eastside of Wilmington through the creation of affordable homeownership opportunities, and economic and workforce development.