In August, an uneven plot of land on East Third Street was covered with overgrown vegetation.
Four months have passed, and the once empty plot of land is now where the home of Kayla and James Lyons sits.
After their application to the Affordable Homeowners Program through Habitat for Humanity and spending the required 400 combined “sweat equity” hours, Kayla and James are counting down the days before move-in.
“I cant even put it into words. It’s a very good feeling,” Kayla said.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization with the purpose of providing low- to moderate- income people with affordable homes. Specifically, the New Jersey Affiliate of Habitat for Humanity has served the Burlington County community since 1987.
The 25-year-old Maple Shade resident is looking forward to moving out of an apartment and into a house. Her only concern deals with finances.
The brother and sister duo are used to living in an apartment.
Between her student loan bills and future household expenses, Lyons said she and her brother are trying to save as much as they can before moving in.
“We are used to living in an apartment, and never lived in a house before. I am just trying to mentally prepare myself for different bills,” she said.
She said there are a lot of good things happening for her at once.
Between the house construction being completed and her recent graduation from DeVry with an associates degree in accounting, Lyons said she still can’t believe this is real.
“Everything is happening so fast. It’s very overwhelming. But at the same time I feel so blessed,” Lyons said.
Lyons has been working at Habitat for Humanity Burlington County for two years. She said with the new house, going back to school was financially a good decision.
“I love my job, but being a cashier is not a career. I need a job where I have good benefits and where I am making good money so I can live comfortably,” she said.
While working full-time for Habitat, Lyons also was a fulltime student and a part-time waitress/bartender.
“It’s just life,” she said with a smile on her face. “You work to make money, to live and to pay bills. That’s what life is.”
Lyons said her brother is planning on getting a dog, and she wants to start her own garden.
“It’s going to be great putting money into something that is going to be ours instead of renting and throwing money away,” she said.
A definite move in date is not set. Lyons said they still need a certificate of occupancy before they can move in. But she remembers when the walls were just starting to form. As her eyes filled with tears and a big smile remained on her face, she still can’t believe Habitat for Humanity turned her dreams into reality.
“It just a sense of security. It’s an accomplishment. This is actually happening. It’s not just a distant thought or a goal of mine.”