HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Two families were honored Monday during a dedication ceremony hosted by Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH), a nonprofit organization in charge of building them new homes.

“The homes are not quite done yet, but were hoping to have everything done by the end of the summer so these kids can get into school in the fall,” said Aimee Giroux, Executive Director of the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity.

A three-bedroom home currently under construction is being built for a single mother, Jennifer, and her three teen boys. According to a news release sent to 22News from GSHFH, the neighborhood Jennifer lives in now is dangerous, – has several vacant buildings, homeless people, drugs, and vehicles are frequently vandalized. The new home will provide a safe and decent affordable home.

“I see so much better for my children and I want to be able to provide them a forever home – a place where we will feel safe, stable, happy, and accomplished,” Jennifer said. “We want a place to create beautiful memories for many years to come.”

Jennifer with two of her sons (Courtesy: Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity)

“We are very grateful for the opportunity and partnerships created allowing us to provide more affordable housing in the City of Holyoke. We hope that this is the start of more to come.” said Aimee Giroux, GSHFH executive director.

A three-bedroom home is being built for Juan and Ireydiza and their two children. GSHFH told 22News that Juan suffered from a workplace injury four years ago that left him disabled and Ireydiza had to leave school to be the sole breadwinner. The tragedy has stopped their dream of buying their first home.

Juan and Ireydiza with two of their children (Courtesy: Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity)

“We’ve been trying to leave for a while. This neighborhood has a bad reputation,” said Juan. “We want something different for our kids. We want them to be able to have something where they come home and say, ‘This is our home.’”

While the project has been a lot of work, having a home to call their own means everything to his family, “A house that they can come home to everyday after school and say, ‘This is our home.'”

Around 150 volunteers helped with the construction of two homes in Holyoke beginning in the summer of 2021.

Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity is a housing ministry that seeks to strengthen communities by providing homeownership and home repair opportunities to low-income families. Over the past 35 years, GSHFH has helped more than 100 local families become homeowners.