BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With the help of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, five families across central Maryland have keys to new homes.

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake promotes homeownership across central Maryland.

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Candidates went through a mortgage approval process and dedicated 250 hours to build or rehab a home.

“The general value of the community starts to rise because people take care of their home once they are in them and they are not having to rent them,” Mike Posko, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, said.

Habitat for Humanity partners with local and state officials. They believe when people own, they have more pride in their neighborhoods.

“Homeownership is key,” Boyd Rutherford, Maryland Lt. Governor, said. “You can plan many a barbecue and Christmases and other family events where you will feel good that you are in your own home.”

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Andre Kennedy’s road to homeownership has been a long time coming. He overcame addiction, homelessness and incarcerating.

“This is amazing,” he said. “I thank God for every collective effort. I’m a homeowner, y’all.”

Kennedy said that his new home is a gift.

“What’s special about today really is, in spite of some bad choices and decisions I made in my life, a loving God sees it fit to bless me and grace me with a new home.”

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Ava-joye Burnett