Ground was broken Tuesday night on a new home, located on Gilcrest Street in Milford, for the DeLeon family, who have been working with Sussex County Habitat for Humanity in order to become responsible homeowners and active community members.

By Christmas, the DeLeon family should finally have a place to call home.

Through Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, Abigail DeLeon, his wife Ofilia and their four children have worked diligently toward their goal of being homeowners, and were selected as a partner family for a build in Milford this summer.

The DeLeon family has been working with the program for more than six months to ready themselves to be homeowners in the Milford community, said SCHFH Community Engagement Director Thomas Protack. After the home is built, SCHFH will sell the home to the DeLeons through a 30-year no-interest, not-for-profit mortgage paid directly to SCHFH.

“We’re very happy and content with Habitat,” said Abigail DeLeon. “It’s a blessing from God.”

Ground was broken Tuesday night on their new home, located on Gilcrest Street, Milford, followed by a fundraiser at Grotto Pizza that donated 20 percent of its evening sales to the project.

Active building should begin in September on the one-story ranch-style home, with approximately 1,110 square-feet, four bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms.

“Our homes don’t have granite countertops or trim work and fancy things,” Protack explained. “It’s a simple, decent, affordable home so the family can handle the mortgage and do the upgrades as they want.”

A partnership with Milford’s Burris Logistics and Brendon T. Warfel Construction is expected to help with the cost of the project, as well as provide knowledgeable volunteers to assist during the build.

“To build a house for a family in the Milford community is a real honor,” said Brendon Warfel, who will oversee the build project. “The big difference here is we’re giving a home to a family that really needs it. Milford is a great town, a great community, and to give a family a house to live in and raise their family is a great opportunity.”

About 50 families per month apply to the housing ministry and go through a rigorous application process. Eligible families are selected based on a number of criteria, such as need and family size, and are then required to attend classes, commit 250 hours of “sweat equity” per household adult and become active members of SCHFH.

The DeLeons, who are originally from Guatemala, were previously living in a Millsboro residence. Their participation in this program will allow for a safer environment for their children and the opportunity to become homeowners and active members in the community.

“Given the fact that Milford is a very family-oriented community, it will be perfect for the children to grow up there, especially considering the school district and the area,” Protack said. “It was a perfect fit for them.”