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Low-income families become homeowners

The eight families selected to receive homes saw the finished units Saturday.

December 17, 2011|By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com
  • Kevin Atayde, from second left, receives a high five from Habitat for Human board member Kim McManus after receiving keys to his family's new home built by Habitat for Humanity during a ribbon cutting ceremony, which took place in a Burbank residential area on Saturday, December 17, 2011. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
Kevin Atayde, from second left, receives a high five from…

Eight grateful families received keys to their new homes Saturday.

The seven new town homes and one refurbished single-family home were unveiled at a ribbon-cutting event that included a blessing of each home and tours of the homes.

Her voice breaking and eyes tearing, Marci Johnson, new owner of one of the townhomes, held her daughter Kailey's hand as she related how grateful for her new home she was, and the strong bonds she created with the other homeowners.

“So many people touched our lives and we heard that people drove hours and hours to volunteer for our site, and we are so touched, and so grateful,” Johnson said.

The homes were provided courtesy of the City of Burbank, the Burbank Redevelopment Agency, the Burbank Housing Corporation and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.

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The town homes range in size from a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit at 780 square feet to a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom town home of 1,455 square feet. They are located on Elliott Drive, Young said.

A refurbished two bedroom, one bathroom single-family home of about 780 square feet, located at Keeler Street at Elliot Drive, was dubbed the “Centennial House.” The home was given that name to celebrate the community's participation and mark the city's centennial, said Ross Young, of the city's community development department.

The families were interviewed by Habitat officials and had to qualify financially and meet California Department of Housing and Community Development's very-low income category. For a family of four, the income could not exceed $42,700, Young said.

The process of assembling the four parcels containing the homes began in 2005, Young said, and it was about this time that Habitat became a partner.

By June 2009 the project received formal council approval and construction began in March, Young said. The rehab of the house began in August.

The families were selected in January and were surprised with the news that they were going to be homeowners, Young added.

Mayor Jess Talamantes welcomed Sandra Leiva, the new owner of the Centennial House, and others to the blessing and ribbon cutting on the front step of the house.

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