There’s no place like home, and this is certainly true for the Stefano family! Warren County Habitat for Humanity (Warren County Habitat) proudly dedicated their 21st home to Steve, Donna and daughter Amber Stefano in September. The family now officially owns their own home, one of six eventual Habitat for Humanity homes on Beidleman Road in Franklin Township.
The Stefanos’ Home Dedication ceremony was held on the morning of Saturday, September 10th. The beautiful weather matched everyone’s spirits, as about 6o community members attended the event to show their support and excitement for the Stefanos’ Stefanos, and two other families who were celebrated as well. Donna and Steve excitedly welcomed their loved ones into their new home, shared photos of their home’s construction progress, and took their first official steps as homeowners through the vibrant purple front door. It was a morning of joy and triumph, since the Stefanos’ road to homeownership was anything but easy.
Married for 24 years, Steve and Donna Stefano have a total of six children in their blended family. Throughout their lives together, they had tried to save money for a house down payments multiple times, but were faced with serious challenges: job losses, medical issues, and a fire in their old rental home that had left them homeless for four months.
When Donna offered to pick up a purchase for her niece at the Warren County Habitat ReStore one day, she happened to spot a form resting on a table that would change her life: part one of the Warren County Habitat homeownership application. Without telling Steve, she filled it out, submitted it, and excitedly broke the news to him when she learned they were now eligible to submit part two of the application.
“We are still pinching ourselves because it’s like winning the lottery, only so much better,” Donna and Steve commented upon hearing the news that they had been chosen to become homeowners, “This means a new beginning and security for our family. A blessing we will never take for granted.”
Along with dedicating their 21st home to the Stefanos, Warren County Habitat broke ground on homes for two new families as well. Nick and Maggi Pregenzer and their three children will be living in a modular home by early 2023, and Army Veteran Keary Riddick will be living in a one-story home with her two children by the Spring of 2023. The single-story home will aid Keary in taking care of her young disabled son, as it is getting increasingly difficult to carry him up the stairs as he grows.
Warren County Habitat for Humanity has implemented new programs to serve the community in addition to their home builds: a Critical Home Repair program, where low- to moderate- income Warren County homeowners can apply for repairs that affect their health or safety, and a Community Center, where they host events and workshops that serve Warren County’s children, elderly, Veterans, and more.