Habitat celebrates 107th House

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 4/17/24

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh celebrated on Saturday, April 6 the completion of their 107th affordable home. It’s at 157 North Miller Street, also known as the Judy McLaughlin Women …

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Habitat celebrates 107th House


Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh celebrated on Saturday, April 6 the completion of their 107th affordable home. It’s at 157 North Miller Street, also known as the Judy McLaughlin Women Build house. A house tour kicked off the celebration at 1 p.m. with Habitat volunteers coming out to see the new home.

The house, once abandoned and boarded up, has now come back with new paint, new lighting and new foundations. It will be owned by homeowner Shyniece (Habitat no longer identifies its homeowners by their full names). The new home is named the Judy McLaughlin Women Build house, named after Habitat volunteer and Newburgh native Judith Ann “Judy” McLaughlin, PhD.

McLaughlin attended St. Patrick’s school, Mount Saint Mary Academy and obtained a bachelor’s of science degree in teaching from Mount Saint Mary College. McLaughlin also received her Doctorate of Education from Columbia University. She began her teaching career in Long Island and eventually returned to the area and taught at Little Britain School in the Washingtonville School District. She later became the principal of Taft Elementary School in Washingtonville. McLaughlin was also a board member of Hospice and a volunteer for Habitat Newburgh in her retirement. The day of the house celebration marked four years since her passing.

A written remembrance of McLaughlin was read by friend Judy Byrne, who also shared her own personal words and held back tears. “Judy McLaughlin came to Habitat Newburgh in the early years of the affiliate and was quite a force of nature from the beginning. She had a wonderful sense of humor which was very evident as a site volunteer. She was a proud member of “the Strippers,” a group of women who were wood strippers extraordinaire! Someone had to clean the wood for the building! Judy was a long-time educator/administrator and those organizational skills were evident when she became a member of the Board of Directors. During her term she was an early organizer of our very successful Ask Breakfast, which continues to bring many donations to help Habitat Newburgh continue building affordable housing. Judy was also very instrumental in bringing a ReStore to our affiliate, a huge component of our home building program. During her years as a Habitat volunteer, Judy was a co-chair of the Family Selection Committee, spending hours going through each application to make sure each family was given full consideration. She was a member of the Volunteer Committee. Judy knew the importance of the many volunteers working at our affiliate. She developed “crafty awards” given at a volunteer recognition... an arrangement of spoons for hospitality workers, golden nails for construction workers, diplomas for the Board. Her dedication to bringing affordable housing to our area continues to inspire us all. Judy so often said “It is not about me, it is about Habitat. She would be so proud to have her name on this home which will bring years of happiness to a wonderful family.”

Councilman Robert McLymore was then asked to come up to the podium alongside Shyniece and was asked to offer a blessing to mark the occasion. McLymore serves as the pastor of Life Restoration Church on 1st St. “May God bring peace to this house, may the Son of peace bring peace to this house, may the spirit of peace bring peace to the house, this night and all nights,” McLymore said. “Bless this house and those within. Bless our giving and receiving, bless our words and conversation. Bless our hands and recreation, bless our sewing and our growing, bless our coming and our going. Bless all who enter and depart, bless this house, your peace impart.”

Habitat Family Advocate Florence Ferguson followed with comments of congratulations and gratitude for working with Shyniece during this process to get her new home. A gifted Bible and final presentation of keys was met with applause from the crowd.

Other notable guests of the event included Assemblyman Chris Eachus, Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson and Orange County Legislator Kevindaryán Luján. Assemblyman Jacobson presented a certificate of merit to Shyniece. Habitat Newburgh Executive Director Jill Marie presented certificates from the office of Senator Rob Rolison and Congressman Pat Ryan.