Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna holds dedication ceremony for a rehab in Aberdeen


Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna recently held a dedication ceremony in Aberdeen for the Habitat home on S. Deen Avenue rehabbed by volunteers. Here are the details provided by Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna:

 Yaraly Sanchez (at left) and her daughter, Yaireliz, stand in front of their future home. As with all Habitat homebuyers, Sanchez was required to contribute 250 “sweat equity” hours building her home or the home of another; take mandatory financial literacy classes to learn good money management skills; and, take home maintenance classes. (Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna)

Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna holds house dedication ceremony for a rehab at 182 S. Deen Avenue, Aberdeen

Homebuyer’s Chick-fil-A co-workers attended ceremony, previously volunteered at the home

BEL AIR, MD (Dec. 8, 2023) – On December 1st, Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna held a dedication ceremony in Aberdeen for the Habitat home on S. Deen Avenue rehabbed by volunteers. The future homeowner is Yaraly Sanchez, a single mother of a teenage daughter, Yaireliz.

Sanchez moved to Maryland from Puerto Rico, and has been living in an apartment for 13 years. She was unable to afford to purchase a home the traditional way, and applied to Habitat Susquehanna’s Homeownership Program two-and-a-half years ago. During a 2022 Habitat home visit (as part of the application process), it was documented that there were ongoing leaks, holes and water issues not addressed by the apartment’s maintenance staff.

Sanchez will be purchasing the home through a Habitat mortgage made affordable specifically for her. As with all approved homebuyers, Sanchez had to go through a rigorous financial review process to ensure she was an eligible candidate. (The eligibility criteria include demonstrating a housing need; showing an ability to make monthly mortgage payments; and, willingness to partner with Habitat Susquehanna.)

The major sponsors for this house rehab project were Clark Properties, LLC; Faith Build donors; Harford County Government; and, Maryland Affordable Housing Trust. Additional house sponsors were APGFCU; Chick-fil-A Aberdeen & Constant Friendship; Decisive Data Systems; Patricia and Richard Gilligan; Gutter Guys; and, Mountain Christian Church.

“You know, at the end of the day, a house provides shelter, but a home is where your heart resides,” said Habitat Susquehanna’s Executive Director, Yvonne Golczewski, in her remarks at the ceremony. “It is a place for refuge, security, and making beautiful memories that last a lifetime. So, new beginnings. New memories. New Home. Congratulations, Yaraly! Welcome home!” 

Michele Louderback, Community Engagement Manager, thanked the Habitat volunteers who worked on this home.

“Over 1,700 volunteer hours were spent on Yaraly’s and Yaireliz’s home,” Louderback said. “We had individuals, groups, friends, and of course, Yaraly and Yaireliz who all worked hard to transform this home. Our groups included businesses, churches, high school and college students, and a group from Aberdeen Proving Grounds. We had a local neighborhood community association, a group of young professional leaders from the State of Maryland and a garden club. We had volunteers as young as 16 and volunteers who have been retired for many years.”

Louderback went on to explain that of those 1,700 volunteer hours spent at this home, Habitat Susquehanna’s longtime Core Volunteers worked over 700 of them, not including the hours they spent volunteering at two additional build sites during that same time period. Core Volunteers help on a regular basis, often weekly, and are the foundation of Habitat’s volunteer program.

Pastor Linda Aluoch of Mountain Christian Church gave the opening prayer and house blessing. The ceremonial house key was presented to Sanchez by Tom Baker, Site Construction Supervisor.

Attendees were invited to tour the home, as this will be the only opportunity the public will have to see the work of Habitat’s volunteers. Dedication ceremonies celebrate the completion of the homeownership process, and are held before homebuyers go to settlement.

“Our dream was always to own our own house,” said Sanchez when she first applied to the Homeownership Program. “I decided to choose Habitat because I want my own place to live and it’s an amazing opportunity to have my own house and a better living environment for me and my daughter.”