COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Three new families broke ground on their new homes Saturday through the Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity homeowners program.
"Each of the families selected for this meet our 3 criteria," Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity Executive Director and CEO Kris Lewis said. "There's a need, so they're either in an overcrowded situation or paying more than 30% of their income. Then they have to be able to pay an affordable mortgage. The other thing is they have to partner with us, they put in a lot of sweat equity. Each person on title of the home puts in 200 hours of sweat equity. So that means building their homes, building their neighbors homes."
This ground blessing ceremony is held near the beginning of every family's new home being built. It's symbolic and representative of this new chapter in their lives.
"As dirt gets tossed into the air, this is the foundation that's moving their families forward on stability," Lewis said. "When you have a decent place to live that's affordable, they can be proactive on their healthcare, the kids aren't having to go from school to school. It reduces a lot of stress for parents. When you reduce the stress on the parents, you reduce the stress on the whole family."
One of the new homeowners, Karmen Allen, is a U.S. Army Veteran and single mother of 2 boys.
"She grew up with the need for stable and affordable housing as the daughter of a single mom as well," Lewis said. "So to be able to provide this stability for her and her 2 sons is an enormous gift to her."
Lewis said Allen has also had to turn down raises at her job because she would then lose the financial ability for assistance. With this new home, she has the opportunity to accept promotions and grow financially.
"Currently right now we live in public housing and we've been on that 8 years," Karmen Allen said. "So being able to get off the public housing assistance and getting into your own home with the kids own rooms. The kids are excited because my oldest son he wants a Pokemon room and the other one, he wants an Avengers room, so it's really exciting."
Karmen reflected on her journey and how exciting it is for her to soon have something that's her own with her family.
"Having the freedom to be in your own home and paint the walls, decorate the walls, be outside," Allen said. "We have this mountain view, that's what I'm excited about. Being able to go out on my backyard, drink my coffee and look out that we're finally here."