2 Valley families get new homes for Christmas thanks to Habitat for Humanity

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Just in time for the holidays, two local families received the gift of the American dream on Monday.

They were handed keys to brand new homes, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Not even morning showers could put a damper on Monday's celebration.

"It's like you get to wash everything. Rain is representative of different things and for me, it's a good thing," said Chelsi Johnson.

Johnson, along with her husband and three children, can't wait to begin enjoying their own home together.

On Monday, they were one of two families to receive keys to their own Clovis home thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

"Even our in-laws, everyone is going to enjoy this home because we get to all be together. A lot of the times we were just going over to their house and now we get to host people so I'm excited about that," said Johnson.

Habitat for Humanity homes are built with the help of volunteer labor and various sponsors.

Each home is sold at no profit and with a low-interest mortgage loan.

Families go through a rigorous qualification process and must demonstrate a need and desire to purchase their home.

"As much as today is a gift, we don't give anything away at Habitat for Humanity. Families get a hand up, not a handout. So they have to put actually 500 hours of their own sweat building each other's homes and they have to be able to afford buying their home. It's really a teamwork process," said Matthew Gruney of Habitat for Humanity.

The Johnsons put in plenty of sweat equity to get the home built.

Aside from performing more than 500 hours of work, they learned what it's like to swing a hammer along the way.

"I got up on that roof. We helped build that roof. Everything you see in this house was actually our hands. Hammer to nail," said Johnson.

The process has come full circle for Johnson. She's recently started volunteering at Habitat for Humanity as a way to give back to the organization and other families in need.
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