By Kenneth Moton, WPVI
Dreams are coming true for families who are literally building their own homes in North Philadelphia.
Soon shovels for Wednesday’s groundbreaking will be replaced by construction machinery and a labor of love to build five new homes for five North Philadelphia families courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.
“As a first time home buyer and homeowner, it’s just excitement, it’s a big excitement,” Jo Obafemi said.
In a community working against blight and abandoned homes, Habitat teamed up with City Council President Darrell Clarke who represents this district to bring what they’re calling Hope Village to 1900 Turner Street.
And people like Jo Obafemi will own one of the new homes she’ll help build.
“As an immigrant in this country, in the United States of America, that helped me a lot and I learn a lot through Habitat for Humanity,” Obafemi said.
One of those five homes on the property will be dedicated to a man who has made it his religious mission to provide shelter to those in need, Pope Francis.
And the boys of Saint Joe’s Prep will be lending a hand to build that house just months before the papal visit.
“They need to know that there are people who struggle, who don’t have everything that they have, and they get to understand that,” St. Joseph’s Prep president Father George Bur said.
Habitat for Humanity has built and rehabbed about 80 homes in North Philadelphia, nearly 200 citywide in 30 years.
“The families who come into our program earn between 30 and 60 percent of the medium income so that’s $25,000 to $40,000. They are normally the first person in their immediate family to be a homeowner and it changes things,” Frank Monaghan of Habitat for Humanity said.
Construction of Hope Village starts next month and Habitat expects the homes will be ready for move-in by Christmas.