Habitat for Humanity surprises new homeowners

Photo by Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup – The Karapetyan, Lee and Yang families pose for a group photo with City of Clovis and Habitat for Humanity officials after learning that they will soon become homeowners.

By Tomas Kassahun | Reporter

Three families in Clovis were shocked to learn that they will soon become homeowners.

The Karapetyan, Lee and Yang families got their surprise at the Clovis City Council meeting on Monday, July 17.

That’s where Matthew Grundy, executive director at Habitat for Humanity, revealed that his organization will build new homes for the families.

The families, who were invited to the city council meeting to learn more about Habitat for Humanity, had no idea what was in store for them.

“That was so surprising. We just realized that we are getting new homes very soon,” said Mariam Karapetyan. “I really, really want to say thank you to Habitat for Humanity. It’s a good opportunity to have a good future for our family.”

The council members congratulated the families, then presented them with a hammer to be used for the construction of their new homes.

“We are moving from Fresno. I have no idea what it’s going to be like in Clovis, but I’m pretty sure we are going to like it,” said Karapetyan. “I like the city. I like the environment. I’m so excited.”

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 as a non-profit international Christian ministry, striving to give people a decent place to live. The organization has helped more than 1 million families around the world. In Fresno County, Habitat for Humanity ​has helped 150 families to date.

Grundy said there are three requirements that families need to meet in order to qualify for a home.

The first criteria is need. Families that are living in substandard conditions like health and safety violations, overcrowding or gang activity in their area, qualify under this criteria.

The second requirement is the ability to repay.

“Habitat believes in honoring those who demonstrated good stewardship over their finances historically,” Grundy said. “We do not fundamentally believe in giving handouts, but hand ups.”

Third, Habitat for Humanity requires willingness to partner.

“We ask that they put in sweat equity,” Grundy said. “They must put in 500 hours of sweat, blood and grit on their own home before they take ownership.”