Felix and Tanya Vega and their five children will have to move just two blocks into their new home in Rochelle.
The Vegas are the recipients of Habitat for Humanity of Ogle County’s latest home at 122 S. 9th St. The home is nearing completion and the family will be moving in following a June 6 open house event.
Despite a year of COVID-19-related challenges, Habitat decided to move forward with the project.
The nonprofit was unable to host its fundraiser dinner which usually funds the initial costs of a build. Donation numbers fell. Building material prices are currently high. Habitat Executive Director Vanessa White-Broome said the build did come in over budget, but work pressed on and a couple grants helped the nonprofit.
"It was a challenging year for nonprofits with COVID-19 but we went ahead and secured the permit last June and actually started the first nail in August,” White-Broome said. “It was a pretty quick build with all of the challenges we had. We've had a lot of people from Rochelle that have been involved and some from surrounding communities.”
The house is four bedrooms and the build came in around $100,000. The Vega family put in work building the new home, which is part of Habitat’s “sweat equity” policy where families help during construction.
The family painted and learned how to do flooring. There’s yard work still left to do.
Habitat prides itself on its policy of "hands up, not a hand-out.” Those that receive homes make mortgage payments to Habitat. They stay engaged throughout the mortgage and provide counseling on how to pay for and maintain a home.
Those that apply for Habitat homes are usually unable to receive a loan due to credit issues.
The Vega family has been living with relatives.
“We looked at their current situation in person,” White-Broome said. “It was just cramped conditions. “Now the family will have their furnishings and privacy for their kids and a normal environment. A place where a family can thrive.”