HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) has partnered with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s (NRMCA) Build with Strength Coalition to build a new and affordable, concrete home in Holyoke on Friday.
The new home framing is made with sustainable, noncombustible concrete that will reduce upfront construction expenses, along with maximizing the structure’s durability and energy performance, according to a news release sent to 22News from GSHFH. GSHFH helps strengthen communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives through homeownership and home preservation opportunities.
The new homeowner of the house, Antonia Santos, will save long-term costs on utilities and insurance. Antonia Santos is a single mother of three daughters and a son, who are survivors of domestic abuse. They live in an apartment that has significant issues such as mold in the basement, sewage backups, and a leaky roof, in an unsafe neighborhood.
Antonia says, “it’s time for a change. I want to show my children it is possible to break the cycle of abuse and give back to the community that helped us escape our situation.”
Community members and volunteers hosted the “Behind the Build” event on Friday at the building site on Chestnut Street in Holyoke. The event had remarks from local leaders, a look at the current construction process, a “block signing ceremony,” along with interactive training about building with ICFs. The event also offered a chance to meet and celebrate with Antonia and her family.
“We are very excited to partner with the Build with Strength Coalition to promote ICF construction in our area, which allows us to build a more energy-efficient, affordable home for our Habitat families,” says Aimee Giroux, the Executive Director of the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s unbelievable until you see the blocks stacked up together. It seemed like every time I tried to work toward buying a new house it was almost impossible. I was being outbid I wasn’t making enough money. It’s awesome because it means I’ll save money on my bills so we can use that for things we couldn’t do before,” said Santos.