The Haney family will settle into their own home this Christmas for the first time in several years, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.
Trevor and Heather Haney, along with their three children ages 6, 4 and 1, moved to the Tri-Cities about two years ago from Montana.
"When Trevor got out of the Air Force, we were living in Great Falls and there were not a lot of jobs available at that time," Heather said. "So he finished getting his degree in criminal justice, then we moved here to the Tri-Cities and have been living with Trevor's mother in Pasco ever since."
Trevor took a security job at Chiawana High School, and Heather is a stay-at-home mom.
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The couple have been counting the days until they would be able to move into their own home again and not feel like they are being a burden, Heather said.
"We are so grateful to Trevor's mother for letting us live with her the past couple years," she said. "There are five of us and we can fill up a house all by ourselves."
A few dozen friends and relatives turned out Friday for dedication of the family's new home on Banyon Street in Richland.
Also on hand were representatives from Habitat for Humanity and Areva Manufacturing, which helped finance the construction.
"Areva has always been a strong supporter of volunteerism in the communities where our employees live," said Anna Markum, interim manager of Areva's Richland site.
Israel Camorlinga, Habitat's contractor for the Haneys' home, attended the dedication with his wife Modesta. The Camorlingas, of Kennewick, were the first couple to qualify for a Tri-City Habitat home in 1994.
"We still live in that home on South Quincy Street with our four children," Israel said with pride. "A lot of hard work by many volunteers goes into the construction of these homes."
Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity international has built or repaired 400,000 homes for more than 2 million people around the world.
In the Tri-Cities, the nonprofit organization has provided 70 homes for qualified families. None of those homes has fallen into foreclosure, said Theresa Richardson, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Tri-Cities.
"There is a rigorous application process that families must go through to be approved for an interest-free home loan through Habitat," she said. They also have to invest a lot of sweat equity building homes, she added.
"We are not a giveaway program," she said. "The families that qualify must be willing to put in 500 hours of unpaid volunteer work for other Habitat for Humanity projects."
It costs about $95,000 to build each Habitat home. The organization holds two fundraisers a year and accepts donations from individuals, civic groups, corporations and churches.
"We also have a store on Wellsian Way that sells donated building materials," Richardson said.
As for the Haney family, having their own home again is the best Christmas present ever. Just ask their 5-year-old daughter Alanna.
"I already know how I want to decorate my room," she said. "I already have my dollies, but I would like it to be all Disney (theme).
"And I can't wait to put up our Christmas tree."