HATFIELD Two families will get a big Christmas gift this year - their first foray into homeownership, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

The twin homes, on the 100 block of Penn Avenue in Hatfield, will be dedicated at noon Tuesday. The event is open to the public.

The families who will start the new year as neighbors are a Kenyan-born couple with two daughters and an Indian-born couple married 47 years.

With help from Habitat volunteers and corporate sponsors, the families each spent more than 200 hours working on their houses and attended workshops about home repair and self-sufficiency.

"Having permanent, affordable housing will be life-changing for these families," said Marianne Lynch, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County.

The charity provides no-interest loans to the families, whose mortgage payments are used to build more houses.

Since 1989, the county chapter has built 57 homes that house 205 people. - Jessica Parks