First home sites mark new chapter in Southwood building process

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - What looks like just a pile of dirt and mud off Old Lynchburg Road will soon be the site of a new home for one of the first families to move into Habitat for Humanity’s Southwood community.

Construction was in full swing at the site Wednesday, March 16. It’s a sight that brings future homeowner Lulu Lopez a new sense of happiness.

“People used to say it was never going to happen, but now I know that I’m going to live here,” Lopez said.

It’s especially important for her five children, ranging in age from about 2 years old to 28 years old.

“In the future, we’re going to have a place to live. We’ve always wanted a place that was better for our kids. No one imagined this,” Lopez said. “It’s hard to own a house, but Habitat is giving us the opportunity. Putting God first and working hard, we’re going to do what we said.”

The first village of new homes will be comprised of 70 homes. It’s located just steps away from the mobile homes where most of the new tenants are currently living.

“What we’re trying to do is create a national model where you can invest in a community and people can move up without moving out. And that’s exactly what’s happening here,” Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville CEO Dan Rosensweig said.

Looking out over the site Wednesday morning, Lopez points at where walls and spaces are about to be. She and others on the move list worked with Patricio Hermosilla to design the entire neighborhood. Hermosilla, a former lawyer from Chile, also helps field questions about mortgages and loans, translating important documents in Spanish for future residents.

“They have been doing sweat equity, helping with the design of Village One, and now they’re at the point where they can see where their house will be built,” Hermosilla said.

Upon fresh dirt, it will be a fresh start. It’s something Lopez said she has faith in. Some of the first families expected to move into the first homes could move as early as this summer.

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