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New homeowners, Habitat for Humanity volunteers celebrate dedication

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The new homeowners and some of the many volunteers who helped build the Vernon Street homes attended the dedication ceremony. 


Five months after breaking ground, Habitat for Humanity volunteers who helped build two homes on Vernon Street celebrated with the new homeowners at a Jan. 20 dedication ceremony.

Homeowners Musu Dahn and Ana Rodriguez, a transition coordinator in YNHH's Care Coordination department, worked alongside their family members, 130 Yale New Haven Hospital employees and physicians and other volunteers from Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven to build the homes. 

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LEFT: Surrounded by family and friends, Musu Dahn accepts a commemorative hammer in honor of her hard work. RIGHT: Ana Rodriguez and her son, Jerell, will move into one of the Habitat homes they helped build on Vernon Street.
"This has been a lot of hard work," said Michael Holmes, senior vice president, Operations, YNHH, and president of the Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. "But I don't think a lot of the employees at the hospital and a lot of the other volunteers would describe what they did here as work. They would describe it as a labor of love."

Habitat is an international non-profit organization that builds, renovates and repairs houses for families. Families purchase their homes through affordable monthly mortgage payments and invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, along with volunteers, to build the houses. Nearly 500 YNHH employees and medical staff members have volunteered on Habitat home builds over the years.

The homes dedicated Jan. 20 were the seventh and eighth Habitat homes sponsored by YNHH. Michael Bennick, MD, who helped initiate the partnership between Habitat and YNHH and its medical staff eight years ago, emphasized the role stable homes play in the health of individuals and communities.

"To be healthy requires more than just medicine. It requires a place to call home and neighbors who are true friends," he said. "We are building stronger and healthier and more vibrant neighborhoods, and we're doing it one house at a time."