Two Ethiopian refugee families get the gift of a new home

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two homes in 10 days. That’s the goal of Austin Habitat for Humanity’s “Homes for the Holidays” Blitz Build.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of volunteers gathered on Magin Meadow Drive in southeast Austin to start the hard, but rewarding, task of building homes for those in need. With nails, hammers and energy, crews raised the frame of the homes in preparation for the rest of the construction.

The two families receiving the homes are both refugees from Ethiopia, one of whom is a single mother.

“I’m very excited,” said Alemnesh Melese. “I’m glad. God bless you guys. Thank you so much for everything, helping me. I’m happy.”

In a city where housing is becoming harder to come by for those in a lower income bracket, these two new homes will be part of a 16-home community built by Austin Habitat. Austin Habitat says these homes will all be permanently affordable and never owned by someone who would not qualify for the Habitat program. The average income of an incoming Habitat homeowner is 40 percent of the Median Family Income, which is currently $31,120 for a family of four.

Volunteers from HomeAway and the Austin Board of REALTORS Foundation "raised the walls" on two affordable homes in Southeast Austin as part of the Holidays “Blitz Build." (KXAN Photo/Dani Guerrero)

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