eiesha_wallace_web.jpg(Florida International University) – Ten families who currently rent will become homeowners Saturday, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity’s “Blitz off Broadway” campaign to complete 10 homes on the  Northwest 18th Avenue corridor in just 10 days.

Blitz off Broadway, so called because the Northwest 18th Avenue neighborhood is sometimes known by that name, is part of Habitat’s “Liberty City Shine Campaign,” a three-year effort to provide affordable housing in Liberty City by building or rehabilitating 150 homes in the area.

The JPMorgan Chase Foundation donated $500,000 to Habitat for homes in Liberty City. Miami-Dade County provided the vacant land on which the houses are built.

The annual “blitz build,” a super-accelerated construction schedule aimed at quickly building multiple houses, kicked off April 4 when some 2,500 volunteers turned out to paint, hang drywall, frame interiors, install roofs, do finish work and landscape the properties. Professionals handle the foundations and build the shells of the houses.

The prospective homeowners turned out, as well, investing 250 hours of what Habitat calls “sweat equity,” by helping build their own and other people’s homes.

Eiesha Wallace worked off her sweat equity in a blue T-shirt and sweat pants, energetically pushing a wheelbarrow to what soon will be her new home.

“I can’t wait!” said Wallace, 32, a single mother who drives a school bus for the Broward County School District. “I was living with my mother before and you know how it is living with your parents.”

Wallace, who will move into the three-bedroom, one-bath house with her 15-year-old son, has never lived in Liberty City but she describes the local “Broadway” as “a pretty good neighborhood.”

Habitat makes no profit on the homes, which sell for about $100,000 to $133,000. The mortgage payment, which includes taxes and insurance, is set at 30 percent of a family’s total income, usually about $650 to $900 a month. After completing a financial management course, applicants pay about $1,500 as down payment.

Once “Blitz off Broadway” is completed, Miami Habitat will have sold affordable homes to about 100 Liberty City families.

“A lot of people have the misconception that we simply give houses away, which is untrue,” said Miami Habitat spokeswoman Andrea Schleider. “We provide a hand up not a hand out.”

Sitting on the porch of her nearly completed home, Kizzy Robinson, 34, a public service aide with the Miami police department, pointed at her next-door neighbor, who also got a house from Habitat.

“We are family, see!” said Robinson, who lives with her 15-year-old daughter. “It’s like we’re sisters. It’s great.”

Robinson, Wallace and eight other families will receive the keys to their homes on Saturday at a dedication ceremony complete with marching band and choir, with the African Heritage Cultural Center’s Drum Line and the Miami Worship Choir welcoming the new homeowners.

Miami Habitat says it is always looking for new applicants for homes and for volunteers. Those who are interested should call 305-634-3628 or visit www.miamihabitat.org

Deborah Souverain may be reached at dsouv001@fiu.edu

Photo courtesy of Liberty City link. Sweat equity: Eiesha Wallace is one of 10 new homeowners receiving Habitat for Humanity homes in Liberty City.