Habitat for Humanity turns keys over to local family

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. – The saying goes “there’s no place like home.” On Saturday, that couldn’t be more true for one Southwest Florida family.

WINK News has been following Marisol Santiago and her three children for the past two weeks. With the help of the community and Habitat for Humanity, they’ve been building their home.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Santiago with her kids by her side. “Overwhelmed and excited. I just can’t wait to move in.”

Saturday morning, the keys to her house were turned over. For months, she’s been working with Habitat for Humanity to have a place to call home for herself and her children, and now she does.

“I’m happy that they’re all going to have their own a home, a stable home,” said Doris Vargas, Santiago’s mother.

Santiago and her kids are one just family out of 1,200 that approached Habitat for Humanity asking for help.

“There’s a lot more out there that need it,” said Kitty Green, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties. “It is almost impossible for somebody making minimum wage to afford a market rate rental.”

Green says the housing crisis has made Southwest Florida an extremely expensive place to live, making organizations like Habitat for Humanity that much more important.

“Kids that live in a home that their parents actually own are 25 percent more likely to graduate high school, and 116 percent more likely to graduate college,” said Green.

Santiago will still be paying off the home, but her payments will be priced out at 30 percent of her income making the home affordable.

“I’m excited. I can’t wait to start moving my stuff in,” said Santiago.

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