Mayor Freda, councilmembers, representatives of Princeton University, and community leaders join Habitat for Humanity of South Central New Jersey staff, volunteers, and supporters in celebrating two hardworking, income-qualified families becoming neighbors and homeowners now that the much anticipated affordable home project in Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood is complete.
The newly constructed front-to-back duplex sits on a slender lot next to the Mary Moss Park. The build design not only complements the historic homes within the community, it also reflects the style of the home that previously sat on the land which features like the front porch. The new Habitat Homeowners will enjoy their two and three-bedroom homes, respectively, equipped with new appliances as well as both on and off street parking.
One of the new homeowners, Wanda, has been on a quest to find affordable housing over the years, which led her further away from her family, increased her daily commute to work, and left her feeling isolated because the unsafe neighborhood kept loved ones from visiting. She wanted her next move to be safe and permanent, where she could feel connected to her community and welcome family for gatherings.
Wanda said her prayers were answered when she was selected for the Affordable Homeownership Program. She eagerly attended workshops and meetings with her mentor in preparation of closing on her home all while working full time. Now, Wanda is purchasing her home with an affordable mortgage that she can pay with her salary as a supervisor for the New Jersey Turnpike. Her home is also located beside a fellow Habitat Homeowner family, which offers her a feeling of familiarity in her new community.
The next door family has been renting locally for well over 16 years, and have long desired to become homeowners. With the rising cost of rent and the competitive housing market, they were unsure if they were ever going to own their own home. The family felt extremely fortunate to be selected for an affordable home in Princeton, viewing it as a step towards stability for their family.
The new homeowners look forward to becoming active members in the historic Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. As Habitat homeowners, they will pay no more than 30% of their income on principle, taxes, and homeowner insurance, which will allow her to budget for emergencies, support her growing children, and plan for the future.
Lori Leonard, CEO at Habitat SCNJ, says, “These beautiful homes have been such a challenging and fulfilling project to take on, and we are incredibly thankful for the support of the community and its leaders who have helped make it possible for two hardworking families to make Princeton their home.”
Habitat for Humanity would like to thank the wonderful funders and partners that contributed to the construction of these homes. A special thanks to Princeton, Princeton University, The McAlpin Foundation, Betty Wold Johnson, Wells Fargo, Nassau Presbyterian Church, Trinity Church, and The Merancas Foundation.
To see photos of this project’s process, the new homeowners, and the home dedication ceremony, check out @HabitatSCNJ on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to visit www.HabitatSCNJ.org for more information on Habitat’s services, active builds, and current events.