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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The American Dream is coming true for future Habitat for Humanity homeowners. In Wilmington, the nonprofit group is building five houses in seven days.

It’s called the Home Builders Blitz. It’s part of a national initiative to build 200 homes across the US in one week.

“When I first got the call, I was ecstatic, screaming, crying,” future Habitat homeowner Alecia Shepherd said. “My kids were screaming.”

Shepherd is one of five future homeowners that are part of the Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz.

Habitat partnered with six Wilmington builders. What normally would take 16 weeks to finish, the homes in the Gideon Pointe development will be move-in ready in one week.

“I really don’t think there is a much better feeling in the world than being able to put a name with a face and put your arm around somebody that’s going to be able to move into a home that you help put up for them,” said Jordy Rawl of Stevens Fine Homes.

Right now, all that’s built is the floor, but by next week the lights will be on and Shepherd and the other owners can turn the key into their new home.

But the homes are not free. Habitat sells the homes to buyers who pay a mortgage and put in their fair share of work. It’s called “sweat equity.” Two-hundred fifty hours for single parents, and 400 for couples.

“They’re learning the house from the ground up, which kind of empowers them,” Habitat’s Esmond Anderson said. “If there are any troubles that happen in their house later on in life, you know they’re not scared to get a wrench, get a hammer, get a screw driver.”

Shepherd said, “I know that I built my home, and I have to take care of it for my children, so they can have it for their children and pass it on.”

The Cape Fear chapter of Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 25th year of building more than 140 homes in the area.

We’ll have much more on the Builders Blitz next week on WWAY NewsChannel 3.

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