Families given keys to new homes in East Palo Alto

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif.

"Owning a home has always been a goal of mine. I'm a single parent with two daughters so it's such a blessing," said new homeowner Carmela.

Carmela and her two daughters received the keys to their new home today. Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco started the Neighborhood Revitalization Program in 2009 in response to the foreclosure crisis.

"It's about creating safe, stable environments in which families can thrive," said Habitat for Humanity Exec. Director Phillip Kilbridge.

Through the program, the organization acquires bank owned homes and rehabilitates them. Local working families then buy the homes with no money down payments and a zero interest mortgage after completing home ownership training and 500 hours of sweat equity -- working on the homes along side hundreds of volunteers.

"Every house that Habitat and East Palo Alto in collaboration are able to rehab and improve is one step closer to eliminating those issues of blight, of gangs, of other kinds of social maladies that comes with neighborhoods that are downtrodden," said East Palo Alto Mayor Carlos Romero.

"I didn't think that I would be a homeowner so soon. I am just blessed to have this opportunity," said Carmela.

Carmela said that by volunteering with the organization, she is part of something bigger.

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