(From a press release)
After a year of waiting and working, a Grand Island family will soon realize a lifelong dream.
“You’re going to have to pinch me,” Byron Lima said. “We’ve prayed about this, and now it’s finally happening.”
In the spring of 2016, an educator shared information about Habitat for Humanity with Rosemary Lima, who was a student at Dodge Elementary. Excitedly, Rosemary passed the information about the organization’s building and loan program on to her parents.
“The Lima’s story shows how one person can positively impact a family simply by sharing information,” said Dana Jelinek, executive director of Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity.
After going through the application and interview process and being one of five applicants selected last April, Byron and Reyna Lima began their journey toward homeownership. This Sunday, April 9, the family will celebrate their journey with a dedication ceremony and open house.
For the past year, the Limas have been working on construction sites, taking homeownership education classes, helping with Habitat projects and volunteering at the Habitat ReStore. Although the commitment of 500 sweat equity hours is mandatory for those purchasing Habitat homes, the Limas are well past 700 hours.
“You won’t find a more grateful family,” Jelinek said.
On hundreds of occasions, the Limas have shared their gratitude with the organization, even going so far as to track down volunteers and staff members on Christmas to give them gifts of homemade tamales.
“We don’t have much to give, but we will be thankful for all our lives,” Byron Lima said.
He went on to say that the family had been dreaming of a home of their own for many years, but finding a decent place they could afford was a challenge. Lima smiled as he talked about how, one day, he can tell his grandchildren how he built his own home with the help of his Habitat family.
“When we are going through the final stages of selecting future home buyers, we tell them that Habitat is more than a builder or lender, we’re a family,” Jelinek said. “The Limas really exemplify that philosophy.”
In February, the organization had its annual Build a Dream Dinner and Auction, with proceeds helping to pay for construction materials on the home. The Limas attended the event and were overwhelmed by the generosity of people from the community.
“These people don’t have to give, but they are here to help someone like me to have a home,” Lima said.
At 4 p.m. Sunday, the public is invited to the dedication of Habitat’s 89th area home, which will be sold to the Limas at no profit and with a no-interest loan. The ceremony will be at Sixth and Taft, around the corner from the house. Following the ceremony, an open house will be at 1306 E. Eighth.
This is the sixth home to be built on land developed by Habitat for Humanity. The organization has four lots designated for home buyers who will be selected later this month. However, inventory is at a historic low. In order to take their work into the future, the organization is doing preliminary work seeking a larger piece of ground for a multi-year housing development.
Habitat for Humanity typically builds five homes a year. In 2016, homes built by the organization not only had a direct impact on the home buyers but also had a significant impact on the community. The organization uses local subcontractors and suppliers, and home buyers pay property taxes. In 2016 alone, property taxes paid on all Habitat built homes in the area totaled more than $163,000. Market value on the homes completed in 2016 was $533,450.
In speaking about the sweat equity they’ve contributed to Habitat, Reyna Lima said, ”You value your home because of the work you put into it. We will continue to help, so other families can have this, too.”
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, call (308) 385-5510.