Two houses to be raised in Dover as part of Habitat’s ‘Builders Blitz Week’

The Puzzo family, including married partners Latiesha and Natalie, siblings Brian, Markus and Shayla, stand near the site of their future home in the first block of South Kirkwood Street in Dover on Tuesday morning. (Delaware State News photo by Craig Anderson)

The Puzzo family, including married partners Latiesha and Natalie, siblings Brian, Markus and Shayla, stand near the site of their future home in the first block of South Kirkwood Street in Dover on Tuesday morning. (Delaware State News photo by Craig Anderson)

DOVER — With nearby construction activity evident and sounds quite audible, two families exhibited a palpable sense of excitement Tuesday morning.

Homebuilding in the first block of South Kirkwood Street was underway and the Puzzos and Walkers also seemed a touch overwhelmed that the work was for them.

Through community partnerships, rebates and incentives from state and city governments, Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity aims to complete the raising of two homes in downtown Dover in a week’s time, beginning next week.

In what’s billed as a “Builders Blitz Week,” construction will run from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Foundation work is underway for the Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity home building project in Dover.

Foundation work is underway for the Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity home building project in Dover.

At a ceremony earlier this week, Latiesha Puzzo said, “I came to Delaware to give my kids a better life than I had. I’m really fortunate that you picked us because you could have picked so many others.”

Said Ms. Puzzo’s marriage partner Natalie, “This is my first time seeing it. (Latiesha) rides down the block a couple times a week to see it.”

In close proximity was Stephen Walker, who said his adult life hasn’t been a model of stability until now. He and his three children were selected to occupy another of the five homes scheduled to be built in the block by the end of the year.

“The feeling is unexplainable,” Mr. Walker said. “I’m grateful for this not only because of how it (will impact my family) but because I believe in the idea of what Habitat for Humanity wants to do for families and downtown Dover.

“This will give us something that’s ours and something we can hold on to.”

Mr. Walker’s children, ages 8, 7 and 2, were in school at the time, but their father is glad he can have something to pass down to them when the time comes.

Both families will pay on zero-percent, 30-year term mortgages facilitated by Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity.

Walker family friend Amillion Mayfield said the head of household is a worthy recipient.

“He’s a father first before anything else, and a stand-up guy,” Mr. Mayfield said. “I’m proud to support him in his next move, his best move in life.”

Said Brian Lessard, of Lessard Builders and Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity board president, during the

Stephen Walker addresses a Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity gathering Tuesday morning. He saluted the building of two new homes on South Kirkwood Street in Dover, including his own.

Stephen Walker addresses a Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity gathering Tuesday morning. He saluted the building of two new homes on South Kirkwood Street in Dover, including his own.

ceremony:

“We are excited to be part of the change in your life. We are excited to watch that happen.”

Habitat has five more projects slated for this year, including a home for a veteran which will be aided by proceeds from Saturday’s Hammer Down for Habitat Motorcycle Run and After Party. The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Walter L. Fox American Legion Post 2 at 835 S. Bay Road in Dover.

According to Habitat development director Chris Cooper, sites are scheduled for Mifflin Road (already under construction), South Queen Street and Schooner Way. All but one will be new construction, supporting the Restoring Central Dover project.

Central Delaware’s Habitat for Humanity branch is focused on creating long-term affordable housing while eliminating poverty-related dwellings wherever possible.

The nonprofit ecumenical housing industry provided opportunity for one family a year from 1990 to 2009, then ramped up efforts to provide multiple homesteads.

In 25 years, CDHH has built and/or renovated 38 homes, helping more than 170 adults and children, officials said.

Mr. Cooper said there’s never been a home foreclosed on during that stretch.

“The need is there and we’re here to serve it,” Mr. Cooper said.

For more information, contact Mr. Cooper at 526-2366 or ccooper@centraldelawarehabitat.org, or visit www.centraldelawarehabitat.org.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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