Two houses will be dedicated in Struthers next week.
BY AMBER HYLAND
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Cars fill the limited amount of parking space on Bruno Avenue on the city's West Side as friends and family arrive to eagerly inspect the Arroyo family's new house, commenting on everything from the red shutters to the closet space.
"Wouldn't this be a great place for a small garden?" someone comments while touring the back of the ranch house.
Patricia and Javier Arroyo and their three children stand against the wall of their living room as friends and family take pictures.
Mahoning County's Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 13th house Tuesday, making members the Arroyo family proud owners of their very own humble abode.
The Bruno Avenue house was the first completed house that was fully funded by FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy donated $52,000 each for four homes and partially funded two others.
"I am speechless. ... It is a dream come true," Javier Arroyo said to the dozens of volunteers gathered in the driveway. "All of you are now part of our family tree, and I have a great story to tell my grandkids."
To get all of the money donated for the house, the house must pass an energy efficiency test with an 80 percent rating, said Sally Gunn, president of Mahoning County's Habitat for Humanity.
The house passed with more than 90 percent, and all of the houses are now built to this standard, she added.
"This house is very energy-efficient," Gunn said. "This will save the Arroyos some money."
Gunn added that the Arroyos will become taxpayers, receiving a no-interest mortgage for the house.
Students from Austintown Fitch High School helped with the project.
According to Lillian Quaranta, a Latin teacher at Fitch and the leader of student and faculty volunteers from the school, this is the first time that students helped build a home from the ground up for the Mahoning County Habitat for Humanity.
Quaranta said some of the student volunteers will continue to work with Habitat for Humanity at the colleges they attend.
Many other community members contributed to the Arroyo family home, including trade apprentices.
Electrical Workers Local 64 Apprentice Program and Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 Apprentice Program were among the contributors.
Gunn said that inmates at the Elkton federal prison also contributed to the home by building stud wall panels under the instruction of Todd Nicholes. The panels were then shipped to the location.
"All of these people are like a living prayer," Gunn told the volunteers. "You put your time and your talents into this, and it is a great statement to the community."
Applicants for Habitat partner/owners must not own property, have an annual income between $14,000 and $22,000, have reasonable credit and be willing to invest 350 hours of sweat equity.
Gunn said she was impressed with the 350 hours that the Arroyos did to build their new house.
"They worked very hard and encouraged us to work," Gunn said.
Habitat for Humanity will dedicate two homes on Oakview Avenue in Struthers next week.