Home for the holidays

Published 4:26 pm Monday, December 24, 2018

Lori Boone is decorating her home just like every other family for Christmas, but it is just a little more special for her.

On Christmas Eve, Boone officially moved into her new home that was built by Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads. It was the ninth and final house built by the organization on Lake Kennedy Drive.

“It’s a blessing. I’m very excited for this Christmas gift,” Boone said. “It was probably on the top of my list of best presents.”

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Boone and her daughter, Kiana, have been living with her mother in Suffolk for a year, and this new home is the first home that Boone will own.

“I applied in March for this and, well, here it is,” Boone said. “It went faster than expected. Since this is my first home, it’s scary and exciting at the same time.”

While Boone is happy to have a home, it didn’t come without hard work.

Every Habitat for Humanity homeowner has to put in 200 hours of “sweat equity,” as well as financial literacy training.

Boone decided to help out other volunteers to build other Habitat homes and work in the organization’s retail store for her 200 hours.

“All the work makes me have a lot of pride in the house,” Boone said. “I put a lot of hard work into this.”

The hard work has been a good example for her daughter, Kiana.

“This whole process has been an example of what hard work and dedication can do,” Boone said. “I want to show her these things and make sure that I can be an example for her to follow.”

Along with the work that she had to put into the home, Boone also has to pay a mortgage. Habitat for Humanity makes sure to give their homeowners a “hand up, not a handout,” according to Executive Director Frank Hruska.

The mortgage is based on income to make sure the home is affordable.

Seeing her mother work hard and now have a home makes Kiana feel proud.

“I am so happy for her. She has done a good job,” Kiana said. “I call her Superwoman.”

Boone’s home is the last of nine homes that Habitat for Humanity built on Lake Kennedy Drive. Habitat for Humanity received funding from the city of Suffolk, Wells Fargo and Bank of America to pull off this project.

Now that Boone has moved in, all nine homes are occupied with Habitat for Humanity families.

“She is a very deserving homeowner. We are working to change lives,” Hruska said. “It is made possible by our volunteers. I want to thank them and the city of Suffolk.”