(above) Mayra Martinez-Gil and her family in front of their new home.
Partner homeowner Mayra Martinez-Gil and her children celebrated the completion of their home on February 7 under brilliantly sunny skies. An audience of nearly 100 Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) staff members, volunteers, donors, fellow homeowners, elected officials, and other community stakeholders came out for the dedication.
The Martinez-Gil house is the 16th house built by Habitat LA in partnership with Thrivent Financial, a nonprofit financial services organization. Thrivent Financial helps more than 2 million members achieve financial security and has a long history of giving back to the community. Over the past 15 years, Thrivent congregations have raised more than $3 million for new homes in the greater Los Angeles area, and more than $252 million worldwide.
Coincidentally, the Martinez-Gil house sits across the street from 24 homes built by Habitat LA in 1995 for the Jimmy Carter Work Project. Erin Rank, Habitat LA President and CEO, noted that many of those homeowners had already paid off their mortgages, or were close to doing so.
The triangular lot that surrounds the Martinez-Gil home sat vacant for many years, before the County of Los Angeles and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas gave the land to Habitat LA. The three-bedroom, 1,229-sq.-ft. home that now sits on that lot features hardwood floors, tile kitchens and bathrooms, energy-efficient heating, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and a large backyard.
“Today, I am a proud Habitat homeowner,” said Mayra, who was joined by her daughters Jacqueline, Mayra, and Karen, her son, Andrew, and their pet chihuahua Suco. “I came to the U.S. when I was 16, and for the past 27 years I’ve worked two jobs to support my family. I remember days when I had to choose between paying the rent or buying food.” The Martinez-Gil family spent 500 hours working on their own home, contributing the “sweat equity” required to become a partner homeowner.
Matt Lust, Senior Project Manager for the County of Los Angeles’s Community Development Commission handed the keys to the Martinez-Gil family, while Lisa Shevy, Community Engagement Manager for Thrivent, presented a bible.
“Thrivent is one of our most engaged partners, having supported Habitat for Humanity around the globe for many years,” said Erin Rank. “We were doubly blessed to have built two homes with Thrivent this past year here in Los Angeles. Their commitment to our mission, not only financially but also through volunteerism, is unparalleled and we are able to serve more hard-working families because of it.”
To see more photos from the event, click here.