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Local News

Habitat for Humanity helps single mom become home owner

WINTHROP HARBOR – Tyfanie Petersen and her two children own a home in Winthrop Harbor today thanks to Habitat for Humanity and Bank of America.

The single mom of two smiled as she greeted family and friends March 1 at the door of her new address, while her 9-year-old daughter, Makalah, and 8-year-old son, Devon, played in the backyard.

“The kids are super excited to have a room of their own,” Tyfanie Petersen said. “Makalah plans to paint hers pink because that’s her favorite color.”

The home dedication was slightly different than most. It included an appreciation speech from Habitat for Humanity Lake County’s executive director Julie Donovan to their partner, Bank of America, for donating the foreclosed Winthrop Harbor property so only repairs and renovations were needed instead of building a home from the ground up.

The bank has donated seven properties to Habitat for Humanity in the past two years, said Carolyn Hanes, a representative of Bank of America who handed the house keys to an emotional Tyfanie Petersen.

“This home symbolizes a new beginning for you and your family," Hanes said.

Representatives from the Koening and Strey Foundation, which help support the rehab of the home, were also there to welcome the new home owner with housewarming gifts.

It costs Habitat for Humanity a lot less to rehab a home than to build one, Donovan said. Waukegan, Beach Park and Winthrop Harbor are areas the bank’s rehabilitation program has donated homes from.

“The donations of properties by Bank of America is a tremendous boost to our efforts to revitalize neighborhoods in our area,” Donovan said.

For Tyfanie, the home dedication was the end of the road for a lot of hard work and the beginning of a better life for her and her children.

“Nothing about this program has been easy,” Tyfanie said. “You have to take classes and there’s a lot of paperwork because they have to see you’re serious about wanting to be a home owner, but it’s all worth it. I never thought a single mom like me could have a nice house in a nice area.”

After the Petersen’s home dedication, the parties moved the welcoming wagon to the home of John and Brittany Taylor in Zion. They received the keys to their first home thanks to Habitat for Humanity in January.

For information on Habitat for Humanity Lake County, visit

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