August 10, 2020  Daily News

SALISBURY — Misty Janvrin was on a Zoom call at work Friday morning when she found out she and her children’s lives had just changed for the better.

Javrin manages Raccoon Express car wash in Seabrook. She was one of five families awarded a chance to buy homes on Old County Road by way of a lottery through Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity.

“I found out and I told everybody, ‘I gotta go!'” she said. “This is great. I was just on the phone with my daughter and told her we had a home!”

The mother of two left work and rushed down to Old County Road to take a tour of her new home, where she also met her new neighbor Amarilys Zayas Masa, who was also awarded a home Friday.

Zayas Masa is also a mother of two (4-year-old twin boys) and works at TD Bank while running a cleaning business on the side. Zayas Masa manages a 50-hour work week while also enrolled in a business management program at Northern Essex Community College.

“I’m so happy!” she said. “I can’t believe it! I was so nervous that I was shaking.”

Meegan O’Neil, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity’s executive director, picked five out of seven eligible families, lottery style, Friday morning and said it was an exciting moment for her.

“We wish we could have awarded homes to all of the families who need them,” O’Neil said. “Certainly during this time, there is no greater need for stable housing. We also recognize there aren’t enough homes for everyone.”

O’Neil thanked all of the volunteers who helped her organization.

“The construction volunteers, the family selection committee and the donors are the ones who really made this all possible for us,” she said.

The two other families that were part of the lottery will be eligible for other housing in the future, according to O’Neil.

“They will stay in the lottery,” she said. “If any family backs out or finds other housing, then one of the wait-listed families will be selected.”

Lawrence resident Maribel De La Rosa, who works in home care services, was also chosen in the lottery.

Willy Gerard is a native of Haiti and helped build and maintain his own family home as a young boy. Gerrard works at Northshore Education and stated in his application that his dream is to be a homeowner one day. Now, that could be in Salisbury.

Abdelhak and Khandia Elmalki are the parents of three young children. Abdelhak works at a Cambridge public health physicians organization and his family has demonstrated a need for housing since their current home is overcrowded with all three children sharing one bedroom. But the family could soon have a new home on Old County Road.

Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity uses three main selection criteria to determine eligibility for homeownership: need for adequate shelter; income and ability to pay; and willingness to partner.

Selected homeowners are also required to participate in all Habitat first-time homebuyer educational workshops; contribute between 240 and 360 “sweat equity hours” in working on construction of their home; pay closing costs estimated to be about $2,500; participate in the management of a condominium association where applicable; and participate in and support Merrimack Valley Habitat events and programs.

For more about the family selection process, go to

Bryan Eaton/Staff Photo Daily News