LOCKLAND, Ohio - The Ohio National Finances Services dedicated a pair of new Habitat for Humanity homes in Lockland Saturday afternoon.
The homes represent part of the largest ever one-time gift granted to the Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity and are the seventh and eighth homes constructed by Ohio National.
"We are so proud to partner with Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity, Gary T. "Doc" Huffman, Ohio National's chairman, president and chief executive officer said. "Habitat for Humanity makes the dream of home ownership a reality for thousands of families across the United States and in our local community. Working together with our associates, we're pleased to know we're helping our Habitat partner families build a better future."
The dedication ceremony, which was held at 9 a.m. in front of the new homes located at 625 and 627 Walnut Avenue, welcomed two new home owners to the community.
Keomi Barber and her two children will be the residents of the new home at 625 Walnut Avenue. Barber is excited about the level of stability and assurance home ownership will bring to her family, but she's also proud of the example she'll be able to set for her children.
"Buying this home will bring our family some stability, space, sense of ownership, responsibility and a new beginning," Barber said. "I am trying to show my children how hard work pays off and that if you really want something, small or big, you have to be willing to put in the work to get it. Then after achieving your goal, you will appreciate and take care of it. We are very grateful to everyone who has made this possible."
Next door, at 627 Walnut Avenue, will be new home owners Abel Bubonye, his wife, Janeth Abel, and their two children. The family partnered with Ohio National on the construction of the home.
Abel and Janeth are originally from Burundi but were raised and lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania until they managed to immigrate to the United States.
"We are very thankful for Habitat and Ohio National for this precious gift," Bubonye said. "To own a home is a big step and will bring much joy and happiness into our life. My family and I were in serious need for this home. Our house was too small, so for us to be approved to build and buy this home is a blessing."
The gift to Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity enabled to the organization to continue its mission of building affordable homes to sell to low-income families.
"We are thankful for Ohio National's generous donation and all of the efforts that went into building homes for these families," Ed Lee, Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity executive director said. "Ohio National has demonstrated that it is truly committed to the betterment of the Cincinnati community."
In 2009, to celebrate its 100th anniversary and 100 years as part of the Cincinnati community, Ohio National Financial Services announced its commitment to fund the construction of 10 Habitat for Humanity homes over five years. The $780,000 gift will fund two homes each year for five years from 2009-2013.
Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit Christian housing ministry that seeks to eliminate substandard housing by building and renovating simple, decent, affordable homes to sell to low-income families in need.
Cincinnati Habitat has built over 250 homes in neighborhoods that include Avondale, Clifton, Columbia Tusculum, Evanston, Harrison, Hyde Park, Lincoln Heights, Lockland, Madisonville, Mt. Auburn, Mt. Washington, North Fairmount, Northside, Oakley, Over-the-Rhine, Price Hill, South Cumminsville, South Fairmount, Walnut Hills, Westwood, Winton Place and others.