(above: The Park and Powell families cutting the ribbon on their new homes)
On August 15th, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) welcomed the Park and Powell families to their new Habitat homes during a home dedication celebration in Culver City. Together with the support of the community, the Park and Powell families cut the ribbon on their new homes.
The Park and Powell families partnered with Habitat LA to build a better home and future for their families. Community was an ongoing theme throughout the celebration for each family who built their homes alongside volunteers, completed homeownership classes, and will pay back an affordable mortgage.
“These two houses are a result of the community coming together to help families and we couldn’t have done it without of the support of everybody in this community,” said Erin Rank, Habitat LA President and CEO.
Many Habitat LA supporters, including community leaders, donors, elected officials, future Habitat LA homeowners, Habitat LA staff and volunteers gathered for the festivities.
Meet the Powell Family
Jemeel and Lauri Powell and their three children Leena, Evan, and Emma currently live in a two-bedroom apartment in Culver City. To provide stability for their children, Jemeel and Lauri made some difficult career decisions, choosing to remain in this community instead of moving away and uprooting their children from their school.
“Throughout my journey, I learned that you can be talented and driven, but sometimes we still need a helping hand,” shared Jemeel, with his family by his side on stage. “This [help] can come from parents, friends, or an amazing organization like Habitat for Humanity.”
In a speech filled with gratitude that almost brought Jemeel to tears, he explained how the homeownership process wasn’t easy, and it taught him many things about construction, personal finance, home safety and most of all patience.
“I’ve met so many amazing and considerate people on this site. The results of these acts of service and compassion can be seen by the smiles on my kids’ faces. You see it first hand, how much this organization is changing lives.” Jemeel exclaimed.
When the Powell family unlocked the front door to their new house for the first time, the family of five, all cheered joyfully – they were finally home.
Meet the Park Family
The Park family had a lot to rejoice about on this special day. On the same day they received the keys to their new home, the Park family also celebrated the 21st birthday of their son Sungyool. Another milestone for the family included marking the 10-year anniversary that their family immigrated to the United States from South Korea in search of better opportunities and a better education for children.
The Parks struggled with finding affordable quality housing. “Because of the cost of living and expensive rent, it was really hard to find a place for us to really call home,” said Sung, who spoke on behalf of his parents Jae Neung and Younjin, and younger sister Soyou. Sung explained how his parents lived in the living room of their current two-bedroom house for the past 6 years to allow him and his sister to each have a private space to study.
The Park family will now own a beautiful three-bedroom home where they can live comfortably and thrive. “Habitat for Humanity truly has given us more than a home. Personally, this organization and this journey were definitely more about learning [about] community,” Sung explained.
Culver City continues to be an active partner in the development of the ten-home neighborhood on Globe Avenue.
“It’s so moving to have this Habitat model that makes dreams come true – where the community comes together to build love and hope, because that’s what we’re building,” said Mayor Megan Sahli-Wells of Culver City.
These newly constructed homes, sponsored by Grifols and Thrivent, are two-story 1,300 square feet with 3 beds/2 baths. Both homes have green features including drought-tolerant landscaping, electric car charging ports, energy-efficient heating, insulation made from recycled content, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and solar-ready systems.