ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The 2023 season has kicked off for the Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity.

This year marks 35 years of providing homeownership for those who may be struggling in the community.

Eight new home builds are going up this year. They will be built by volunteers and high school students.

It will be the newest homes for a few families in Rockford.

“This is mine,” said Nayisha and family. “It’s surreal.”

Nayisha and her family will be moving into their new home in the coming months, thanks to the Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s a foundation for my children,” Nayisha said. “That they would always have a home that they can call their home.”

“What a beautiful day to celebrate the start of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity’s 35th year of building homes,” said Keri Asevedo, executive director of the Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity has built over 140 homes over the past three and a half decades, giving 173 families the chance to own a home.

The non-profit is now breaking ground on the 2023 at the Emerson Estates subdivision. It is a location where 30 families will find their forever home.

“From the land bank, thanks in part to the Region 1 Planning Council, we were able to purchase 30 lost in Emerson Estates, and so we’ll be here for three or four years building in this community,” Asevedo said.

Eight homes are set to be built this year, and it will be a community effort. One home will be built by Guilford High School students, giving them hands-on construction experience.

Nayisha’s home will be a community build home.

“Things can happen,” she said. “We do have a community standing behind us that is gonna help us, to help us strive to raise our children. That’s the big thing.”

“We are just so grateful,” Asevedo added. “Thousands of volunteers, millions of dollars have come through our organization in 35 years. We just continue to grow. The need in our community grows, and the generosity of our community grows at the exact same rate.”

Nayisha’s new home is the “Daniel Nielson Memorial Build,” in honor of Nielsen, who passed away in 2021. He was greatly involved in Habitat for Humanity.