The occasion marked the successful completion of the four-home development. Two of the homes were completed in December of 2006, thanks to home sponsors Coldwell Banker and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
The Saied family home was sponsored by Habitat East Bay's own All Women's Crew, which also did much of the construction on the house, and was well represented at the event. Political refugees from Afghanistan, Sam Saied and his family lived in the Bay Area for 25 years before finding Habitat.
"It was hard for us to buy a house on the open market," said Sam, who works as an accounts clerk for Contra Costa County. His wife Lailuma ("Laila") stays busy caring for their three children - two teenagers and a 1-year-old. Laila also volunteers regularly in the children's schools.
When asked what will be the first thing they will hang on the walls of their home, Sam replied, "A family picture. That's the best thing in my life."
The second home, appropriately named "House Built on Faith," was sponsored by a large group of faith communities in Contra Costa County. It went to the Sanchez-Luna family, which had come to the United States from Mexico in search of a better life.
Before being selected to purchase a home of their own through Habitat, the six members of the Sanchez-Luna family lived in a trailer with only two bedrooms. Domingo, who works as a forklift driver while Maria cares for their four children, put it best when he said (through a translator) that the house means a better future for his family.
"Now that we have a Habitat house, our dream is to keep working hard like we always have - but actually be able to get somewhere and improve our lives," he said.
"Habitat East Bay is very pleased to be in partnership with the Antioch Development Agency, Bank of the West, Federal Home Loan Bank and PG&E, not to mention the state, county and city," said Janice Jensen, Habitat for Humanity East Bay's Executive Director. "We could not have completed these homes without them, our house sponsors and our volunteers. This development, West Rivertown, truly represents a community effort."
PG&E Governmental Relations Representative Tom Guarino presented a $60,000 check representing the contribution of solar panels on each home.