Two families moved into brand new homes in Sioux Falls Thursday, thanks to hundreds of Habitat for Humanity volunteers. 

It’s been a long journey for Peter Deel, from Sudan to Sioux Falls, but his new home was constructed in less than a year.

“These homes were actually started inside, indoors last winter. 477 volunteers, thousands of hours,” Rocky Welker with Habitat for Humanity said.

Welker says Deel had to volunteer 300 hours of work and take classes on home ownership to qualify.  And there’s another “catch,” — the house isn’t free.

“We help out with that 0-percent loan, but those mortgage payments are coming back to cover that home and going right back into the pool to help build homes for more families,” Welker said.

Seeing the families on dedication day keeps volunteers motivated and coming back year after year. 

“I look around at all the kids and all their faces and smiles and all the joy and I can’t help but look forward to all the memories and all the joy of the neighborhood of your families growing,” Julie Ferri with Thrivent Financial said.

“When you hand the keys to someone and you can see the children, they might not realize the kind of impact this is going to have right now, but just seeing them playing together and jumping around and laughing and smiling, it just feels great,” Welker said.

As for Deel and his family, don’t look for them to move anytime soon.

“I will live here, I think forever, because I got a home. I’m going to live here until my kids, my kids are going to grow up here, so it’s a great home,” Deel said.

Habitat for Humanity is planning several new homes right now and could use both volunteers and sponsor partners to help finance the construction.