SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It was a celebratory occasion at Schenectady City Hall Tuesday morning, as a community figure was recognized for his journey of becoming a homeowner for the first time.
“As we all sat around the table and signed, it was like signing the Declaration of Independence, because now this was mine,” said Walter Simpkins, the new homeowner who was celebrated.
Simpkins’ journey of owning a home was realized this past December, with help from Habitat for Humanity, as well as other home buying initiatives available within the Electric City.
“This opportunity is available to one and all. We’re trying to be inclusive in what we’re doing here in Schenectady. This is just not a Walter Simpkins shop. This is a shop for all of us who have the dreams of being homeowners,” he said.
Resources available include counseling to help understand the buying process, financial guidance, connections to realtors and banks, as well as builds made possible by Habitat for Humanity.
City leaders say these resources can be especially beneficial during this challenging housing market.
“I think it’s extremely important, and one of the things we found is the education component that we have so that people understand what the time commitment is, what the financial commitment is,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarty.
Habitat also continues to work on numerous projects across the city, including two lots that are under construction on Carrie Street.
“Working at Habitat has a lot of challenges now. Construction costs are skyrocketing, supplies are in a lot of backorder situations. This is what the whole thing is about, when you get to have a moment like this,” Habitat for Humanity Schenectady County Executive Director Madelyn Thorne said.
The celebration concluded with a proclamation recognizing Tuesday as Walter Simpkins Day in the city, giving the new homeowner, who’s also the executive director of local organization Community Fathers, an opportunity to celebrate and reminisce about the journey.