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Langley family to move into latest Habitat home today

Lila Browne and her two young children have a new home in Freeland, thanks to their own efforts and Habitat for Humanity of Island County.

They expect to move in this week.

“It’s nearly finished, and it’s fantastic,” Browne said.

Browne, her daughter Maketa, 9, and son Prince, 4, are recipients of the 21st house built in the county by the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The three-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot house is on Beachwood Drive just off East Harbor Road.

The house was built to “green” standards entirely by volunteers, using mostly donated materials from local businesses.

The nonprofit Habitat for Humanity sells houses at zero-interest loans to qualified buyers. The new owners must put in 500 hours of “sweat equity” — at least 250 personally. Another 250 hours can be done by friends and family members.

Browne said she contributed at least 300 hours herself, doing everything from making coffee to pounding nails, painting and grounds cleanup.

Habitat house buyers must be steadily employed with low to moderate incomes, and be living in substandard housing.

Browne, 39, ran a restaurant on the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean for

10 years before returning to her native South Whidbey.

She currently is employed as a personal trainer and advertising representative for Island Athletic Club in Freeland.

The family has been living in a reclaimed 35-foot aluminum mobile home in Langley.

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has built more than 300,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe and affordable shelter.

It provides mandatory classes for buyers on the responsibilities of home ownership and the prudent management of finances.

The local Habitat chapter will have a public open house and dedication ceremony for Browne’s new home from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10. The house is at 1934 Beachwood Drive in Freeland.

Habitat for Humanity is about to start three other new houses on the South End, Browne said.

For more information about the local Habitat for Humanity, call 360-679-9444 or visit the Web site www.islandcountyhabitat.org. To volunteer, e-mail hfhvol@whidbey.com.

Meanwhile, Browne said her new front porch still needs painting, there’s still no landscaping and there are a couple of other odd jobs to finish.

“We’ll be back there on Saturday,” she said.

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