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When newcomers become homeowners, families and communities benefit

  September 9, 2019

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By Brenna Foley, IINE-Lowell

Bassam Almutawali is a refugee from Iraq who arrived with his family in July of 2014, and was resettled by IINE in Lowell. Bassam enrolled in IINE’s Individual Development Account Program in February of 2017. The IDA program allows  refugees, asylees, and other specialized immigrants to earn money while saving for a car, a home, higher education, or a small business launch.

Bassam and his wife, Murooj, saved enough to purchase a three family home in 2017. They moved into one apartment, and became landlords to two tenants. Bassam and his children, Melak, Kamal, and Layth, were photographed outside their home by IINE volunteer Mariah Dennis.

Zaw Aung and his family arrived in Lowell from Myanmar in 2012. Last year, Zaw and his wife Hel Pho, and children: Thin, Kay, Nay, and Phwe, were chosen to receive a home by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell in May of 2018. After participating in Habitat’s rigorous sweat equity program (including volunteering at Habitat’s second-hand retail shop, and helping to build their own and others’ homes!) they expect to move in to their own new house in September. The Aung family was photographed by IINE volunteer Mariah Dennis.

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