Hope on Hope Avenue: Ardmore community blesses new Habitat for Humanity home
Dee O’Hare and her family will soon have a new place to call home on Hope Avenue — a street name symbolic of the family's outlook on the future.
Ardmore Habitat for Humanity began construction on the home about six weeks ago. To help the family achieve their home ownership dream and celebrate the next step in their lives, community members from various organizations and churches joined the family in writing blessings on the wooden beams of the walls on Monday.
Ardmore Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jon Farr said the blessing ceremony is a big tradition with the organization for every home it builds. “It’s just encouraging the family and blessing the house as they start out on their home ownership journey,” Farr said.
The O’Hare family’s new home will be the seventh in the organization’s housing addition on Hope Avenue and among nearly 15 other Ardmore homes built by the local Habitat for Humanity. Qualifying families receive interest-free loans, making the homes considerably more affordable for families in need.
The construction is made possible by many volunteers, contributing businesses and organizations. Families are also asked to chip in by spending 300 hours of ‘sweat equity’ helping install items in their new house or cleaning up around the property.
“It takes a lot of people to do it and make it affordable,” Farr said. The Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation was the main sponsor for the O’Hare family’s new home and played a large role in helping fund the project.
Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation President Mary Kate Wilson commended Ardmore Habitat for Humanity for partnering with people who want to make a change and improve their lives. She also congratulated the family on their new home.
“Given the times that we’re in, the fact that we can all be here blessing these walls on Hope Avenue in 2020, hopefully it can give us all some hope that despite everything we’re going through, that good things are happening,” Wilson said.
After inscribing blessings on the walls, Wilson and several community members who helped contribute to the project joined together in a prayer lead by Christ the Answer Fellowship pastor Felix Hernandez in the center of the unfinished home.
“Thank God for Habitat for Humanity because they go out and they help people,” Hernandez said. “Through them families like Dee O’Hare and her children will have a place to call home.”
The house still requires several finishing touches, but Farr said the organization is hoping to have it completed by the end of the year. The process has gone very fast so far, but COVID-19 and other things out of their control, like the weather, could cause some delays.
“This week we’re going to be putting in the insulation, they’re going to be doing the masonry and sheetrock,” Farr said. “Then just really finishing it out. One thing at a time.”
Even though the walls will soon be covered with insulation and drywall, the blessings will remain within the walls for the lifetime of the home. Dee O’Hare thanked all of those involved and began tearing up thinking of the impact on her family.
“I don’t think anyone really ever knows just how much it means to us. It’s a big step up,” O’Hare said. “I’ve been a single mom my whole life, I’ve raised my kids and it’s been hard but I’ve always known and trusted in the Lord.”
O’Hare said she is looking forward to raising her kids and many future generations to come in the home. “I’m glad that there’s good people out there to help people who really want to strive to do well,” O’Hare said. “It means everything, it really does.”
Farr said Ardmore Habitat for Humanity is always looking for volunteers — some of whom are needed to work on the O’Hare family’s home. To find out more information, call (580) 223-1540 or visit http://www.ardmorehabitatforhumanity.com.
“A lot of people need a hand-up. They might have been a little bit down on their luck in the past and maybe not, maybe they’re just hardworking people that needed new housing,” Farr said. “It’s important for our community to offer new ways and new opportunities for people.”