Father's Day Dream Come True: Coastal Habitat Dedicates 17th Home
Coastal Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 17th home Saturday on Borden Avenue in Asbury Park, welcoming Dolan Williams and his three daughters into the organization's extended family.
"This is a glorious day," said Maureen Mulligan, executive director, Coastal Habitat. "Dolan persevered through a heck of a lot through his life. We are thrilled to celebrate Father's Day weekend by opening the doors to his home and continuing to fulfill our mission of giving a hand up, not a hand out, to people in need."
After a blessing of the home by Kevin Williams, Mulligan, along with David Butterfield, the organization's board president, Hazel Samuels, credited with spearheading the Springwood Redevelopment Project, and volunteers and neighbors celebrated Father's Day homecoming along with the Williams family.
"Building houses, commercial structures and parks is challenging and I am blessed to be part of the process," said Hazel Samuels, former Director of Community Development for Asbury Park. "I never lost faith that the 12 block STARS Redevelopment area could and would become a viable community. Restoring the spirit of the people is another challenge we continue to work on with partners including Coastal Habitat."
Williams, a widow and head of a single-parent household, was chosen from more than 70 applications the organization received for the safe, basic and energy-efficient single-family home on the southwest side of Asbury Park. Coastal Habitat conducts a detailed vetting process prior to selecting a partner homeowner such as Williams. An employee of the Asbury Park Board of Education, Williams is responsible for a no-interest mortgage held by the organization, taxes and utilities – "all the joys of home ownership" as a volunteer added.
"Hazel's work and perseverance has been invaluable in making this happen," said Mulligan. "Without her help, we would not have been able to secure the lots of land to build homes as well as renovate others. One of our partner homeowners has started a neighborhood watch program. The excitement and great energy in the city is everywhere, including the southwest side."
Samuels added, "This is a dream come true for a family and community."
Since the organization's founding more than 20 years ago, Coastal Habitat has changed the lives of more than 600 people through its construction, renovation and maintenance programs. The organization builds strength, stability and self-reliance through programs that include Aging In Place, Brush With Kindness and new construction.
Coastal Habitat plans to break ground on another new home on DeWitt Avenue, completely customized for a veteran with a disability.
"It is so gratifying to see more of our work over the past six years result in the evolution of a community thanks to so many, especially all the volunteers," said Ollie Lowery, construction manager. "Everyone came together to create this life-changing moment."
Corporate supporters including New Jersey Natural Gas, the New Jersey Bankers' Association, Manasquan Savings Bank and many others helped make this project possible.