Angela Leal and her sons, twins Isaiah and Elijah, 4, and Joshua, 9, attend the ground breaking for their new Habitat for Humanity home at 1208 E. Beech St., Thursday afternoon. (Mark Wilson Photo)
East Beech Avenue will soon have another house on the block built by Habitat for Humanity of Roswell. A groundbreaking ceremony held Thursday afternoon celebrated the start of construction for the seventh house on the street built by the nonprofit Christian housing ministry.
Mike Puckett, president of the Roswell chapterâ€™s board of directors, said the organization wants to form neighborhoods, not just build houses.
â€œWe really are trying to build neighborhood connections and people who care for each other and watch out for each other,â€ Puckett said. Property owners on the avenue began donating land to Habitat of Humanity a few years ago, Puckett added.
He noted there are four or five more empty lots on the avenue to build more homes before they start expanding farther west. Four current residents of Habitat homes joined the groundbreaking ceremony to greet their soonto- be new neighbors, Angela Leal and her three sons, Joshua, 9, and 4- year-old twins Elijah and Isaiah.
â€œSee? We are going to be neighbors,â€ one woman told Leal. â€œI know,â€ Leal said excitedly. â€œI just found out.â€
Leal, who works in the insurance department at a local pediatricianâ€™s office, says she is looking forward to moving out of her apartment.
â€œItâ€™s just a dream come true and itâ€™s been a great blessing for my family,â€ Leal said.
The Habitat for Humanity of Roswell Family Selection Committee picked Leal out of about 30-50 applicants last year based on income, need, and ability to repay the loan on the house.
Habitat sells the houses to families at no profit, but the residents provide a down payment and monthly mortage payments, which finances the construction of more Habitat houses, according to the organizationâ€™s website. Homeowners must also spend about 250 hours of labor helping with construction, although Puckett said Leal will be able to receive help from family members and friends to help meet that requirement.
â€œYou didnâ€™t know that was part of the package, huh?â€ Lealâ€™s cousin joked with her.
Lealâ€™s extended family, including her mother, father, sister and brotherin- law, aunt and uncle and a myriad of cousins, attended the ceremony as did the Roswell Chamber of Commerce Red Coats and the Rev. Juan Antonio Gutierrez of St. John the Baptist Church and volunteers from Habitat for Humanity.
â€œShe needs a home for her boys,â€ Lealâ€™s mother, Telia Leal, said, noting that her daughter stayed at her home before Leal moved into an apartment.
â€œA place where they can have a yard and play because right now they live in an apartment, and thereâ€™s no place for the boys to play.â€ The one-story house will have a wooden framework with a stucco exterior and a total of 1,079-squarefeet, according to Puckett. It will take about 50 volunteers several months to complete once construction begins in early April.
â€œItâ€™s cool to build houses for people who need one,â€ long-time volunteer Nancy Moore said. â€œIt just makes you feel good.â€
Habitat for Humanity of Roswell was established in 1995 and has built 11 houses throughout the city. There are 17 independent affiliates of Habitat for Humanity across New Mexico.