After tragedy local family heals with new home - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

After tragedy local family heals with new home

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ALBANY, N.Y. - A project in the south end neighborhood of Albany has been revitalized with new homes by Habitat for Humanity of the Capital District.

Morton's Walk is the organization's largest project to date in the area. One family who received keys to their new home Wednesday said it has changed their lives.

"It was a tragedy really that brought us to Habitat," said Desiree McAllister-Jennings of Albany.

McAllister-Jennings' granddaughter, 10-year-old Kathina Thomas was shot and killed in Albany in 2008. While in a dark sadness as McAllister-Jennings refers to Kathina, she was approached by a group who brought a spot of sunshine.

"The City Fathers and Habitat, they decided to give us the opportunity of becoming homeowners," said McAllister-Jennings.

Nearly five years later McAllister received the keys to her new home. She put in 350 hours of volunteer time on the project that has built 10 homes on Alexander Street in Albany.

"It's a brand new house, how cool is that? I'm on top of the world," said McAllister.

Some moments were bittersweet as she showed off her new home. She thought about what her granddaughter would say.

"She would say, 'Grandma you got a new house!' she was that type of person. Her birthday was on the 9th of this month, she would have been 15-years-old," said McAllister-Jennings.

McAllister-Jennings says Habitat for Humanity helped her heal as she came to know a new family of volunteers. It is something she will continue to do herself.

"I'm still going to volunteer even if it is one day a week, two days a month. Whenever I can I'm still going to volunteer," says McAllister-Jennings.

The first thing McAllister-Jennings says she will do in her new home, set up her bedroom and try out her new shower.

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