On July 7, Archbishop José H. Gomez paid tribute to the importance of safe and affordable family homes when he joined Habitat for Humanity LA, the Catholic Coalition and other church clergy to bless seven new residences built for families in the City of Lynwood.

This year, the Catholic Coalition partnered with Habitat LA to complete their first home, one of the seven new Habitat developments and a place that the Rendon family will call home. The Rendons have made a down payment, contributed many hours of manual labor to the new residences, and begun to make monthly mortgage payments for their home.

Maria and Ricardo Rendon say they prayed for their own house for years, but their finances were never enough for L.A.’s expensive real estate. Ricardo is a retired U.S. Navy Veteran and Maria is a Catholic schoolteacher. The parents of four young children, Ricardo and Maria saw their prayers answered when they teamed with Habitat LA’s Catholic Coalition to build their home in July 2014.

The funds for the Rendon’s home came from Catholic churches and schools in California. Together they raised $150,000 to construct the home. Fellow parishioners also joined the family in completing the “sweat equity hours” where families provide manual labor to construct the new developments.

Habitat for Humanity LA shared a picture on Twitter of the archbishop speaking to the media before the site tour and blessing. Their tweet read, “@ArchbishopGomez sharing the importance of a home! ‘It changes lives!’”

“It is an incredible honor to have Archbishop Gomez bless these homes, partner families and the work of our Catholic Coalition,” says Erin Rank, Habitat LA President and CEO. “It has been amazing to have the Catholic community rally around our mission and put faith into action building the Rendon’s home.”

The Catholic Coalition plans to continue partnering with Habitat LA to build decent, affordable and sustainable housing for hardworking low-income families and individuals. They hope with the support of Archbishop Gomez to expand Habitat LA’s Catholic Coalition into a partnership that will fund and build many more homes.