Helen Williams and her son, DeVon Williams, were "full of joy" after Habitat for Humanity of Long Island on Thursday handed over the keys to a new home in Bay Shore for the family of health care workers who were forced to move after their landlord died and their apartment was sold. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

The "journey" to find a home has been long for Helen Williams and her son, who were forced to move in with another family after their apartment was sold. Now, the family of health care workers from Bay Shore have their own home to decorate for the holidays.

"I am full of so many emotions, the journey has been long," Helen Williams said. "I'm excited, I'm overwhelmed, I'm just full of joy on this day."

She and her son, DeVon Williams, searched for an affordable home for nearly a year before learning they were selected as homeowners through Habitat for Humanity. The nonprofit on Thursday handed over the keys to the family. 

Helen Williams called the home "beautiful" and thanked Habitat for Humanity. "I consider them my extended family. It just has been wonderful, from point A to point B, they have guided me and I am just so excited," she said. 

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said the property had been vacant after the last owner died and the town community development agency purchased the land a little more than 15 years ago. The land was transferred to Habitat, which was responsible for the construction of the new home. 

“It’s been a long time, it doesn’t happen overnight,” she said. “We’re really excited and what better time of the year than around the holidays to be moving into their forever home, having the real American dream, owning your own home.”

The family built the home with volunteers and construction staff at Habitat Long Island, and completed 300 hours of “sweat equity” to meet the nonprofit’s homeownership requirements. They also put time into financial preparation classes and community service. Each will sign a 30-year mortgage with 2% interest and Habitat Long Island will hold a second mortgage. 

“Today is a culmination of all that Habitat Long Island is about — providing a beautiful and stable place for hard working and deserving families to live," said Dawn Marie Dioguardo, senior director of development for Habitat for Humanity. "The support and dedication of local government, corporate sponsors, volunteers and donors enables us to continue to do our work."

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