Madera Surprise  - October 2020
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Habitat’s first Madera families
Excitement was all around our Habitat Madera ReStore when the traditional Habitat hammers were given to the Arias and Vargas families, letting them know that they were selected to be the owners of the first Habitat homes in Madera. These two new homes will be located at the intersection of Washington and Malone and will be the first of five new homes to be constructed in the neighborhood.
Group photo after the presentation of the hammer to new Habitat families 
The Significance of “Madera”
Matthew Grundy, Habitat CEO, shared that amidst a season of a lot of bad news, it was such a blessing to surprise the two families. 
“The word 'Madera' translated from Spanish to English means 'lumber',” Grundy explained. “So what better way to celebrate Madera than giving these families the tools to hammer nails into lumber over the next weeks and months as they build their new homes together.” 
He expressed his appreciation for the work of Habitat volunteers, Madera residents, the City of Madera, and prayers from all, that made this day possible.
Arias family stands in front of their new home under construction
The Arias Family
Ramiro Arias, his wife Susie and their two daughters, Aliyah, age 7, and Gianna age 3, have experienced many challenges as a family. Gianna was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor last year. They’ve been living in a small, older two-bedroom apartment riddled with peeling cabinets and persistent mold and mildew in a neighborhood known for high crime. Medical supplies and equipment needed for their daughter take up almost all of the limited kitchen and living space and there isn’t anywhere for the children to safely play.
“It was wonderful,” said Susie Arias, on behalf of her family after finding out they were going to be homeowners. “I wasn’t expecting this. I was so surprised!”
Ramiro is a farm laborer for Pittman Farms while Susie is a full-time mom. 
"This Habitat home gives us a new beginning,” Susie shared. “It gives us freedom.”
Habitat CEO Matthew Grundy with Vargas family after surprise ceremony
The Vargas Family
Maurillo and Melissa Vargas and their 5 children, Emily, age 11; Alfonso, age 6; Eliza, age 5; Rolando, age 3, and Evelyn, age 2, also expressed the wonderful feeling of freedom their new home brings.
“We’re excited, happy, blessed. We’ve been trying to buy a house for a long time,” said Melissa. They cannot wait to enjoy their backyard.
Maurillo works full-time at the Madera Red Rock Disposal Company while Melissa is an in-home supportive services care provider. 
The family currently lives in a three-bedroom apartment with a persistent bug infestation, that is also in an unsafe neighborhood.
Mary Ayala, Habitat's Family Services Coordinator 
How to apply or to learn more
If you know of anyone interested in applying for Habitat's Affordable Home Ownership program, please go here to learn more. Or, if you have any questions regarding the program, please contact Mary Ayala, our Family Servics Coordindator at Mary@HabitatFresno.Org.
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