COLORADO SPRINGS — On Saturday, proud new owners cut the ribbon on their new home and a new milestone for Colorado Springs.
“This is our first Interfaith Build for Unity,” said Kris Lewis Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity Executive Director and CEO. “This is the 20th one across the whole country so there aren’t a lot of habitat affiliates that do this.”
The Interfaith Build for Unity is unique in that it brings together volunteers and communities from different faiths, backgrounds and beliefs while encouraging people to put their differences aside to focus on a project, building a home.
“There’s so much angst in the world. To bring people together, to build homes together and see the dignity of one another for just being a human and building neighbors,” Lewis said.
This project is just as rewarding for the volunteers as it is for the new owners.
“This has been roughly about a two-year process for me,” said new homeowner Ms Andino. “Prior to that I was searching for homes for a long time. I was getting approved but not approved for enough to have a house in the Pikes Peak area so I’m just super grateful.”
Before moving into her brand new home, Andino said she was renting apartments. Then, she lived with her mother and a bunch of her relatives.
“Not having your own home, it affects you. It gets into your self esteem. It does something to your confidence. You just don’t ever think you’re going to make it,” Andino said.
But now, the Andino family said they’re excited to finally have a place of their own.
“Get to actually have something we can finally call ours,” said her son, Michiel Andino Gilliam. “Decorate how I want to. Have my stuff, my shoes out… all decorative.”
“I want to create a place that is filled with love,” Andino said. “When you walk into my doors, I want it to feel like: ‘Yes, God is in our presence.’ And that’s what I want. That’s my goal, like, I want that for everyone.”
The Andino family said they’re ready to roll up their sleeves and help the next family with their forever home.
“Once a month or something providing them a lunch on Saturdays and that’s, like, my thing to tell them: ‘Hey, I appreciate what you guys done’,” Andino said.
PPHFH announced they will be starting their second Interfaith Build for Unity this year. If you’d like to get involved, click here to find out more.