Update: September 1, 2021

Mary's Home Dedication marked the 160th house built by Alachua and the 9th Interfaith House! It was an emotional event—full of spirit, love, and pride. Mary is normally shy, but she gave a moving speech, crediting her faith in God for helping her accomplish this. Mary also revealed that she'd kept her work towards her house a secret and surprised her family this morning by sharing with them the news that she will be signing a mortgage! (Which when you consider that she had to complete 400 hours of sweat equity and attend homeownership workshops, is quite an impressive secret to keep.)

Though it was a gloomy morning, the spirit was palpable and showed in the blessings that our religious leaders gave. As with all Interfaith Home Dedications, we invite religious leaders from different traditions to bless the house in their tradition. This morning we were honored to have Rabbi Michael Joseph of Temple Shir Shalom, Rev. Steven Price of Trinity United Methodist Church, Dr. Saeed Khan, Ph.D. of Hoda Islamic Center and Pastor Algera Lavan of A Crown of Life Ministries. Pastor Lavan, Mary's spiritual leader, anointed Mary, her brother, her sons, and her granddaughter before going around to each room and blessing it.

The Interfaith House Project brings together congregations of different faiths to raise money and volunteer on a home—showing the common value of loving your neighbor. In addition to the contributions from Trinity United Methodist Church, Hoda Islamic Center, Wesley United Methodist Church, Kanapaha Presbyterian Church, Springhill Missionary Baptist Church, Knights of Columbus Chapter 11448, First Presbyterian Church, and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship AHFH received a generous $30,000 grant from Publix Charities and a $10,000 grant from the Florida Realtors Association. We are also grateful for the in kind donations of Cree Lighting, Schneider Electric, Mobile Mini, Valspar Paints, and Whirlpool.

The collaboration with AHFH, the Interfaith community, Publix Charities, and Florida Realtors continues AHFH’s mission to provide safe, affordable housing in our community.

Mary Anderson needed a place could she be more independent. When her husband passed away, she could no longer afford the rent. She needed a flexible payment plan to reflect the nature of her income stream, something her landlord was unable to offer. So, Mary and her sons had to move in with her mother in a house crowded with other family members, including her growing sons.

Mary is very grateful to Habitat because they have taught her how to be a successful homeowner, making her feel more confident with herself and her ability to pay for and take care of her own home. The Habitat mission lives out an inspirational quote she is fond of, “What God has for you, is just for you.” She looks forward to having her family over for a seafood boil when she moves into her new home.

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