Habitat Dedicates Last Homes of Completed Neighborhood

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Sunrise Park neighborhood Sunrise Park neighborhood

It's the end of an era for a neighborhood transformation completed by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville. Saturday, the nonprofit dedicated the final six homes at Sunrise Park to their new partner families. 

The neighborhood was a labor of love for countless volunteers and families. New homeowner Rachel Mayo says that's what she sees whenever she walks through her new front door. "They had love when they did this. And I saw it," she said. 

Mayo celebrates owning her first home. 

"I finally paid my first mortgage - I was so excited. Who the heck gets so excited paying a first mortgage? But I was ecstatic - I was thrilled that I was paying my first mortgage and that I did it," Mayo said. 

The neighborhood has been in the works since 2004 and now has 20 new Habitat partner family homes, nine affordable rentals and 30 market-rate units. 

"What we've taken is an old trailer park with decaying trailers and we've helped blend the neighborhood where new Habitat partner families have joined market-rate purchasers alongside longtime Sunrise residents in not just the best mixed-income community in Charlottesville but I think the best neighborhood in Charlottesville," said Dan Rosensweig, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville. 

The Habitat neighborhood gave Mayo the home she's been striving to get for 13 years. It also gave her sons, James and Travis, their own rooms for the first time. 

"I don't have to get bugged by him all the time," James said. 

"Neither by him. I love my own room," Travis said. 

Mayo and her sons have lived in their new house for a month - but she says well before that, it already felt like home. 

"I guess I didn't know it was true until one day I came in here and we were working and I saw cabinets. And I said oh my God, I even started crying because I couldn't believe it was really happening. And I was thrilled," Mayo said.

Mayo says she is grateful to everyone at Habitat for helping her realize her dream.

Now that Sunrise Park is finished, Habitat will shift its focus to the Southwood Mobile Home Park in Albemarle County.

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