Welcome home, new neighbors.

On Saturday, two local families will move into houses in Gervais that many of you helped to build. North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that constructs homes for lower-income families, will dedicate their new homes and welcome them to homeownership. Come and join the celebration, starting at 10 a.m. at the Snegirev family home, 920 Second St., and then at 11 a.m. at the home of the Cruz-Bautista family, 220 Fir St.

Our local Habitat chapter has now built 40 homes in and around Woodburn. Your donations — whether they be in the form of cash, volunteer time spent with hammer in hand, or through your support of a local Habitat Restore — have helped to create safe, affordable housing for hard-working, decent families right here in our community.

Habitat for Humanity doesn’t just build houses. It builds communities by teaching families how to become responsible homeowners.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Habitat gives away homes to poor people on public assistance. While some of these families, who live, work and attend school in our communities, may receive some form of public assistance, most of them work hard in jobs that don’t always pay enough to afford them a nice home to call their own. Habitat teaches them the skills necessary to afford a home and makes low-cost loans available so that they can buy their new homes. Without assistance from Habitat, these families would not be able to qualify for a conventional home loan.

Additionally, Habitat families must donate more than 500 hours of sweat equity to the construction of their own home, or to another Habitat project. After all that work, their pride in homeownership can’t help but be evident.

You can support Habitat’s mission by shopping at Restore locations in Mount Angel and Canby. Or, volunteer to lend a hand. You’ll learn new skills, make new friends and come away with a sense of accomplishment as you watch a house take shape and become a home.

And of course, you can make a financial contribution. Visit to find out how you can donate to NWV Habitat for Humanity, or to learn more about donating building materials to a local Restore location. You can also attend the Hopebuilder Breakfast Tuesday, March 18 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Woodburn Health Center. Enjoy a free meal and learn more about Habitat, its mission to help local families and how your contribution can make a difference. To reserve your seat, call 503-845-2177.

In this challenging economy, the path to homeownership has become increasingly difficult. It’s through the efforts of organizations like Habitat — and the many hundreds of volunteers who make its efforts possible — that working families can still realize their American dream. Now that’s something worth celebrating.

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