ROXBURY, NJ – Ground was broken today on a 12-home Habitat for Humanity project in Roxbury, an event that was six years in the making, according to the organization’s CEO.

The project, at 119 and 121 Main Street in Succasunna, will have two buildings with each containing six condominium units. The first of the two buildings is expected to be ready for occupancy by this time next year and the second will be done a year later, said Morris Habitat for Humanity CEO Blair Schleicher Bravo.

With donations of money and labor, Habitat for Humanity provides homes to families with limited incomes.  The homes are sold to families who win a lottery and pass a screening process. The chosen families must invest many hours of their own labor into building the structures and helping with other Habitat for Humanity efforts.

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“Habitat houses are affordable because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest is charged on the mortgage,” says the non-profit organization. “The family’s monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund which is used to build more houses.”

The Succasunna homes are being built on land once occupied by the township Department of Works (DPW) garage on a small hill across from the Roxbury Fire Co. 1 firehouse. Some oil-soaked soil had to be removed from the property, part of the reason it took so long to get underway. The site remediation was funded, in part, with a $900,000 commitment from Roxbury’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Priority Given to Veterans

The six families who will own the units were chosen in August. A lottery to find owners for the remaining six condos will take place next month, with preference being given to military veterans, according to the organization.

According to Habitat for Humanity, the people chosen for the first units are:

  • Nicole and Daniel Pope, who have three young daughters under the age of 3. “Daniel, a veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps, works as a technician fixing office equipment. Nicole was a teacher, but she is now staying at home to raise their three young girls,” according to Habitat for Humanity
  • Paola Correa, a certified nursing assistant who has three children ages 17, 8 and one.
  • Laris Mojica-Mateo, a transition specialist advisor for Fairleigh Dickinson University who lives with her mother and son, who is a full time student at FDU.
  • Hashem Ibrahim and Hend Elshmay who have one son and one daughter who are 14-year-old twins. Hashem is a described as a “shift leader for Dunkin’ Donuts and an Uber driver.”
  • Heather Seelinger, a secretary in a high school whose 19-year-old son is a student and a volunteer football coach.
  • Mariell Guridy Baez, an assembler for electrical components who has an 18-year-old daughter who is a full-time student.

Schleicher Bravo told those attending the ceremony that the Roxbury project is the organization's largest in its 33-year history. 

"Soon we will be turning this former Department of Public Works property that was once deteriorated and unsightly into two beautiful six – plexes that will ultimately generate property taxes for the municipality," she said. "We will sell each unit to the selected families and place a 30-year affordable housing deed restriction on each house that allows a modest equity upon resale. But the home will need to be resold only to qualifying low/moderate-income families."

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