Habitat for Humanity unveils new house in Greater Duval neighborhood in Gainesville

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In the Greater Duval neighborhood of Gainesville, a new home was built and dedicated to an honorable member of Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps families in need build and improve homes.

With housing and rent prices on the rise, Habitat for Humanity created a Homeownership Program that combines volunteer work with the financial and in-kind support of sponsors, along with grants and principal payments from other family partners.

Lasha Walker, on left, poses with her best friend after the dedication of her home built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. (Kylie Curtis/WUFT News)

Thursday marked the 165th house that was dedicated in Alachua County, with this one going to Lasha Walker. Walker was the first recipient within the homeownership program.

She put in over 400 hours of housebuilding equity and has taken homeownership workshops while still helping Habitat for Humanity build houses for other families. Walker started the 4-step program in January 2021.

Walker said she’s satisfied that all her volunteering efforts paid off in this way.

“It’s amazing,” Walker said. “It’s an amazing feeling, I’m overwhelmed, blessed and I’m just extra excited to be in this home.”

With help from the community, local government, several sponsors and the Homeownership program, Walker said she’s now less than a mile away from her job and is going to free up time to devote to family.

Family Service Director Kristine Thompson said Walker was incredible to work with and is a great example to her kids as the first homeowner in her family.

“The need is overwhelming in this community for homeownership,” Thompson said.

In fall 2021, Santa Fe College of Construction and Technical Programs began to build this house. Once the semester was over, Habitat for Humanity was responsible for finishing the home with help from others. The program reduces $25,000 from the homeowner’s mortgage and goes to Habitat for Humanity to help build the home.

To be eligible for this program, residents need to provide proof of residency in the Greater Duval neighborhood. Program officials say two more people will be eligible soon.

About Kylie Curtis

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