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Partnering organizations celebrate a new homeowner in Hempstead

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Kimberly Style cut a red ribbon tied to the front porch pillars of her new home, 68 Webb Avenue in Hempstead at a news conference on April 14.

Seven years before, Style and her two children, Jarren and Kailyn, had been displaced from a prior dwelling. Now Style owned a fully refurbished house.

Her journey was made possible, first by her own persistence, but also by a remarkable partnership between the Hempstead Community Development Association and Habitat for Humanity-Nassau County.

Speaking at the April 14 news conference, CDA Commissioner Charlene Thompson said, “The CDA was very grateful to be able to come in and provide Ms. Style and her family with $25,000 in down payment assistance.”

Thompson looked back to spring 2020, when the CDA was calling for first-time homebuyers to apply for its Down Payment Assistance Program.

Kimberly Style answered the CDA’s call. She and her children had been living with relatives while she completed the several-year process of getting approved for a house through Habitat Nassau. During that time, Style also acquired a master’s degree and license in social work.

When Style learned of the CDA program, she and her children were already working alongside Habitat Construction Manager Andre Bigby and his team to renovate 68 Webb Avenue. The 300 hours of “sweat equity” required by Habitat for Humanity trains the incoming family in the structure and care of their building.

Style completed the CDA Down Payment Assistance application. The CDA and Habitat Nassau partnered to finish the financing arrangements.

Myrnissa Stone-Sumair, Executive Director of the Nassau County Habitat for Humanity, said, “This was considered a zombie home. We transitioned this house into the hands of Ms. Kimberly Style, and we are proud of the hard work she put in, to make this day possible.”

Style herself, with Jarren and Kailyn beside her, profusely thanked her extended family, the CDA, Habitat Nassau, and other helping organizations. She called out Andrea Houghton of the CDA “for answering all my million questions as a first-time homebuyer. . . . She made [the application process] easy for me, and I appreciate that, because you have to be in it to win it, and without the application, I wouldn’t have received the $25,000 grant.”

Style also thanked New Ground of Levittown, which helped furnish her home. She wept as she thanked her church, Miracle Christian Center in Hempstead, especially when remembering Bishop David Gates, who died in March 2020. Bishop Gates had encouraged Styles through the years of displacement.

“He poured faith into my soul to believe that anything is possible, to believe that I can acquire a home,” Style said.

When Style stood with Jarren and Kailyn to cut the red ribbon, the dignitaries from the helping organizations burst into joyful applause.

Sometimes, it takes a village to fulfill a dream. Style’s story should encourage others to reach out. The Hempstead CDA is accepting 2021 Down Payment Assistance applications through May 24. Habitat Nassau and multiple organizations stand ready to help.