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“Our beautiful palace”

Greg, originally from New York, and Thin Aye, originally from Burma, first met at church while living in South Dakota—she sang in the choir and he played the organ. Their love of music carried over to their new Habitat Omaha home, where Greg now has his own organ.

“It’s not loud enough to break the windows, I promise,” he said, laughing.

The couple chose to move to Omaha because of the large Karen population here. They were living in the Yale Park Apartments when a friend from the Karen community told them about Habitat Omaha’s homeownership program. Greg and Thin Aye applied, excited for the opportunity to buy their first home.

Because Greg frequently works long shifts at his job, Thin Aye completed all 350 hours of sweat equity herself, helping build her house and the homes of others. They both attended the required classes, covering topics from budgeting and purchasing a house to home maintenance.

“The most incredible part of this whole thing is that it’s not only just getting a house, but we’ve actually changed our lives. We’ve learned financial discipline—I tell you, that’s valuable to people,” Greg said when talking about his family’s home-buying experience.

On dedication day, Greg walked inside his family’s house and with a huge smile, said, “whose beautiful palace is this?” Thin Aye then took the floor, passionately sharing her own joy with everyone gathered there.

Now that their family is settled in their new home, Greg and Thin Aye plan to reach out to meet their new neighbors and get involved in the neighborhood.

“There’s been so many positive things about this experience,” Greg said. “I just want to say thank you personally from the bottom of my heart.”