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Newburgh Habitat for Humanity dedicates 54th home

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Albany/HV: Newburgh Habitat for Humanity dedicates 54th home
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Another distressed home in Newburgh gets demolished, and a gem is built in its place, thanks to volunteers, donations, and Habitat for Humanity. YNN's John Wagner spoke with the ecstatic family about to move in with a no-interest mortgage.


NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- Family is everything to Marlene Urquia and her three daughters. Their old apartment had no room for visitors, but now they're moving into a home more than double the size - and this one is all theirs.

"So much better, so much more space, my mom's grandkids, my niece, my nephews could actually come and play," said Marlene Urquia, who will be moving in with her mother and two sisters. "It's going to be really amazing."

"It isn't just a quick fix, a meal for a day, it will change their lives forever," said Cathy Collins, the executive director for the Habitat Humanity of Greater Newburgh.

Thanks to donations and volunteers from GAP Inc. Fishkill, Habitat built their 54th home for the Urquia's as part of their home-ownership program with a no interest mortgage.

"Just the general outlook on their lives begins to change and then they become more involved and invested in the community itself," said Collins. "We are a sustainable solution that ripples out."

Habitat for Humanity plans to boost their efforts. They want to build fifty homes in five years, making 100 total in Newburgh by 2016.

"It's all about giving people hope around here, and helping out," said Brian O'Connor, the director of operations at the Gap Inc. distribution center in Fishkill. Employees donated more than $75,000.

"It's changing streets, it's changing families, it's changing perceptions," said Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy.

It's changing neighborhoods. Twenty-three homes just down the block from the Urquia's will be Habitat developed. Hundreds braved the rainy weather for a 5k walk to raise money for the project.

"They see the poverty housing that exists, the many derelict buildings, but they also see what we can do when we come together as a community," said Collins.

It means a lot for Newburgh as the 54 homeowners combined bring the city nearly $175,000 in property taxes. But it means much more for the families inside.

"Happy everybody and together everybody," said Marlene Urquia.

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