The Brightside: Sussex Habitat
SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. – With every swing of the hammer and sweep of the broom, soon to be new homeowner Lekeia Briddell becomes one step closer to her dream.
Briddell says, “I cry now just thinking about the fact that I will soon be a homeowner.”
It’s a dream that’s taken years to accomplish but finally with a little help from Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, it’s a dream that’s becoming reality.
“It means a lot to me because I’ve been in the process of buying a home for over five years and to be able to come out and buy a home is just a good experience. It makes me feel good on the inside.”
Sussex Habitat is building homes for hard workers like Briddell to make housing affordable for those who might not have been able to buy a home before.
Sussex Habitat Exec. Dir. Kevin Gilmore explains, “One in seven households can’t afford a proper house they’re paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing. That’s just not acceptable in today’s world to have to spend more than 50 percent of their income just on your housing costs.”
And for 28 years, the organization has been able to build homes just like this one here for over 135 families while also providing financial counseling.
Houses that wouldn’t get complete without the community and Habitat home buyers coming together.
Gilmore explains, “Volunteers are the life blood of Habitat for Humanity if you look behind me the houses that are being constructed right now have regular volunteers on them that are out a couple days a week. The families that buy the houses are also participating in the process and that’s just part of what we believe in a hand up not a hand out.”
Briddell adds, “It’s been an experience its given me the drive to say yes I appreciate this you know to be able to come out and to be able to build on my own home.”
It’s a hands on experience that’s making affordable living possible for families in the community that just trying to better their living situations.
“What I’m going to get for a three bedroom is awesome versus what I’m renting now and I have a three bedroom and I pay an excessive amount of money for that three bedroom that’s not even mine.”
That’s exactly why Sussex Habitat continues helping people like Briddell in the community to do just that, while also giving everyone involved a better understanding of their neighbors in the community.
“They get to know each other as people as human beings. It helps break down social barriers, it helps become an equalizer about understanding of people as people and not as job titles or positions,” says Gilmore.