Iowa City Family Thankful for New Home

By Jami Brinton, Reporter

IOWA CITY – Six months ago, a Habitat for Humanity property snafu left one family without a home. Saturday, that same family rejoiced as their dream of getting a place to call their own became a reality.

"I'm happy me and my family so we get a new house," said Alpha Diallo, 33, of Iowa City. "Last six month we get a bad news."

"That was a sad story," explained Mark Dalton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity. "We started building a house about six blocks away from here and at the last minute – the day before we were going to raise the walls, we had a stop order put on us by the city when they found it was not a legal building lot."

With the Diallo dream home on hold, they held out hope.

"We [were] counting from six months to now every single day what day will be the final," explained Diallo. "So today's the final. So we're happy."

Clad in traditional African attire worn to special occasions, the Diallo family gathered with friends and neighbors this afternoon to celebrate the completion of their new home.

Among them, several University of Iowa business students who helped build this house.

"I feel really grateful inside," said David Mapes, a University of Iowa senior majoring in accounting and construction lead on the Diallo home build. "If I was in his position it would be just amazing for someone to present him a brand new home like this. For me, I just feel like it's the right thing to do."

Habitat for Humanity believes their homes are built for the family, but especially the kids.

"They're the ones who are going to benefit the most," explained Dalton.

Diallo agrees.

"It's good for me," said Diallo. "It's good for my kids. So I left my country for a better life and I think I'm getting a direction. This is a good way to start. I think my kids will be better than me."

Next week, Habitat for Humanity will get the $30,000 it paid for the land it was originally going to build the Diallo house on.

They'll use that money to buy another plot of land and build a house for another family in need.
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