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Military Veteran Right At Home With Habitat For Humanity's Help

An urban neighborhood is gaining vibrancy as Habitat for Humanity of Westchester and its partners build a row of comfortable, affordable housing.

Habitat,  which builds housing worldwide, is putting up a two-story, two-family house at  56 Purser Place in the southwest section of Yonkers. The organization has  already built a pair of duplexes on the street and is getting help on its  latest house from Con Edison volunteers.   

One  of the units in the latest house will go to Ivan Arroyo, a member of the Army  National Guard who spent 11 months in Afghanistan, said Jim Killoran, chief  executive officer and executive director of Habitat for Humanity  International’s Westchester affiliate.

“When  he deployed to Afghanistan, I said to him ‘When you get back, apply for a  Habitat home. We’ll have one for you,’” Killoran said. “This is a brand new  home that we’re building from the ground up and he’s going to live in it with  his family.

”Arroyo  will live in the house with his wife and two children.

The  house will have numerous energy-saving features, including high-performance  insulation and solar panels, Killoran said.On  a recent chilly Saturday morning, Con Edison employees swung hammers, guided  power saws and made careful measurements inside the house’s completed shell. Others  were outside in the rain working on siding. More than two dozen employees in  all were helping.

Con  Edison volunteers have contributed hundreds of hours of labor toward completion  of the home. Killoran said it appears the Con Edison volunteers have gotten  what he calls Habititus, or a strong  liking for helping Habitat do its good works.

Habitat houses are sold to  families at no profit and financed with no-interest loans. The homeowners’  monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund that Habitat uses to build  more houses. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments,  each homeowner family helps with the construction.

The work on Purser Place is  part of Habitat’s campaign to transform 30 Westchester neighborhoods by its 30th  anniversary in 2018.

Con  Edison has also provided Habitat with a $5,000 grant for the creation of two  community gardens in Yonkers. One will be at Vineyard and Myrtle streets and one  at Vineyard and High streets. The gardens will be in a neighborhood Habitat has  targeted for revitalization.

Habitat  plans to use the gardens to provide young people with an opportunity to learn about  science and the environment. The gardens will produce  vegetables that Habitat will provide to the local community at low cost.

Con  Edison works with community partners to support  education in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

Con Edison supports  hundreds of nonprofit organizations in New York City and Westchester County to  strengthen neighborhoods, sustain communities and improve lives. These  philanthropic efforts support the arts, environment, and important educational  initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Many of  Con Edison’s 14,000 employees share a personal commitment to the region’s  vitality through their own volunteer efforts and also choose to support  education by utilizing the company’s matching gifts program.

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