Habitat for Humanity to dedicate new home

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - It's been almost a year in the making, but it's just about time for a young Hastings family to move into their newly built Habitat for Humanity home.

Karissa O'Hearn is the Hastings Area Habitat for Humanity's newest home recipient. There'll be a dedication ceremony for her Tuesday at 7 p.m. at her new house. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

The house is located along South St. Joseph Avenue. It's the Hastings Area Habitat for Humanity's 24 house. Karissa O'Hearn is the recipient.

"It feels a little bit unreal still," O'Hearn said. "Especially when we first found out about the house. I think I drove by it every day to make sure it was still there. That this wasn't like a dream or something. But I'm so excited. The kids are totally thrilled."

O'Hearn is a special education teacher at Hastings Senior High School, and a mother of three young kids.

She rents a house in Hastings, where they all live currently. O'Hearn said they've outgrown that house now. She said she wasn't in a good spot financially to buy a house on her own, but Habitat for Humanity helped open up that door.

"To be a homeowner already, while they're still young, and to know that this is our forever home...that's a huge gift. That's so exciting. I'm so blessed to be able to give that to our kids," O'Hearn said.

Their new home is more than 1,100 square feet. It has three bedrooms and a 1.5 bath. Construction started back in August. O'Hearn and her family helped in the build.

Richard Reimer, the chair for the board of the Hastings Area Habitat for Humanity, said they see a big need for this type of service in town.

"One of our biggest challenges is to find recipients or applicants that are capable of repaying the loan, because they don't get it for free. We don't want to put someone in a house and then have them find a problem that they can't afford the house," Reimer said.

O'Hearn went through an extensive application process to qualify for a home loan through Habitat. She put in 300 hours of sweat equity, and will have a mortgage on the house.

There'll be a dedication ceremony for the house Tuesday at 7 p.m. It's located at 834 South St. Joseph Ave. and is free and open to the public. Habitat will officially close on the house then, and turn it over to O'Hearn.

Habitat for Humanity is getting ready to start their next home build. They're always looking for volunteers or donation. If you'd like to do either, you can call them at 402-462-5141.