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Sep 282009
 
The exterior of Habitat for Humanity's green project at Ocean Hill-Brownsville in Brooklyn (Photo: Habitat for Humanity -- New York City)

The exterior of Habitat for Humanity's green project at Ocean Hill-Brownsville in Brooklyn (Photo: Habitat for Humanity -- New York City)

From Green Right Now Reports

Habitat for Humanity – New York City has opened the largest and greenest multifamily complex ever built by a Habitat affiliate in the nation. Keys to the 41 affordable condominiums, which are expected to receive LEED Gold certification, were handed to families at a ceremony Saturday.

The ribbon-cutting event in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn, included about 10,000 volunteers who helped build the homes, financial backers, faith and community leaders, and elected officials who made the new homes possible.

Homeowner families worked alongside volunteers for more than two years to help construct these homes. (Photo: Habitat for Humanity -- New York City)

Homeowner families worked alongside volunteers for more than two years to help construct these homes. (Photo: Habitat for Humanity -- New York City)

The new homeowner families worked alongside volunteers for more than two years to help construct these homes. The 41 families contributed at least 300 hours of “sweat equity” per adult on the project.

“This is an emotional and exciting day for Habitat-NYC and our 41 families, whose lives will be transformed by these healthy and affordable homes,” Josh Lockwood, executive director of Habitat-NYC, said in a statement. “They are a testament to the vast impact New Yorkers can have by working shoulder-to-shoulder to build homes and revitalize communities.”

Esther Huambo, a single mother of two said she was grateful for the many New Yorkers who helped build her new three-bedroom home.

“In breath-taking cold days, with no heat or windows or doors . . . in the very hot days of summer with no air conditioning or fan . . . you came out to work side-by-side with us. You do this out of the kindness of your hearts,” she said in a statement. “On behalf of all the Habitat family partners, and on behalf of my children: ‘Thank you.’”

The block where these homes now stand was a long-vacant, garbage-strewn lot. Habitat-NYC invested $11.6 million to build the complex of three, four-story buildings. According to an economic impact report by HR&A Advisors, the project will generate about $34.5 million over the next four decades – approximately $3 for every dollar invested.

Habitat-NYC families are first-time homeowners earning 45 percent to 80  percent of NYC’s federal median income ($31,905 to $56,720 for a family of four).