Habitat for Humanity dedicates Holyoke home

Feb. 20, 2024 | Trent Levakis
tlevakis@thereminder.com

New homeowner Antonia and her children pose for a photo inside their new home.
Reminder Publishing photo by Trent Levakis

HOLYOKE — The Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity has completed and now dedicated its latest building on Chestnut Street to a Holyoke family.

On Feb. 14, Antonia, whose last name was not released, and her four youngest children were welcomed in their new home by Habitat for Humanity, city officials, volunteers and community members.

The completion of the Chestnut Street home marks Greater Springfield Habitat’s seventh build in Holyoke and is unique in thanks to its build. The home was constructed with insulated concrete form, or ICF, a sustainable technology used in building affordable housing.

“We are very excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Antonia on her purchase of the Chestnut Street home,” said Executive Director of the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity Aimee Giroux. “She and her children worked very hard, alongside our staff and volunteers, to make their dream of homeownership come true. We hope she and her family will celebrate many more holidays together in this home.”

Giroux thanked the Holyoke Housing Authority and the city’s community development office for their partnership in making this project a reality.

This new build stands as the most energy efficient project completed by the Greater Springfield Habitat in Holyoke. Antonia and her family put in over 300 hours of what the organization calls “sweat equity” during the construction of the house.

“First, I want to say thank you to God, my family, my church and all those who supported me when I had no choice but to depend on others to get back on my feet after losing everything to domestic violence. I want to acknowledge all those who wholeheartedly gave up themselves to build up the home for me and my family and all those who helped along the way,” Antonia said. “It has been a hard road, but I made it. We made it, my family and me.”

Antonia, a single mother, and her children will finally move into the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home located on Chestnut Street, joining two other Greater Springfield Habitat builds done in recent years.

Antonia added that despite the setbacks she has dealt with she hopes the new home will serve as a reminder to her children that cycles of abuse can be broken and being involved with the community gives you perspective you might not have once had.

“I have a beautiful family, an awesome job and I am now working toward buying my first home. I have hopes, dreams to do better, and be better than my upbringing,” said Antonia. “It’s not about where you come from, it’s about where you’re going. Good attitudes produce better outcomes.”

Mayor Joshua Garcia was also in attendance to celebrate with and congratulate the family on their new home. He said this dedication was a reflection of the city’s compassion for its own.

“We are a city of compassion. My family growing up benefited from Holyoke’s compassion. Actually, this whole neighborhood was built on compassion,” Garcia said of the Hope 6 neighborhood — created for affordable housing — right next to Chestnut Street. “Partners from the city of Holyoke to other organizations came together to build these homes in looking out for our most vulnerable populations and helping families transition to greater stability. So, I’m very proud to be in a community that cares for people.”

The family welcomed those in attendance inside afterwards to show off their new home.

Since construction began in November 2022, more than 25 corporations and groups volunteered on the build site. Those include MassMutual, Western New England University Society of Women Engineers, Holyoke High School Dean Technical Campus, Springfield’s Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, and Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley law firm.

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