By Velena Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Three Sacramento families, including some from Afghanistan, have a new place to call home as Habitat for Humanity Greater Sacramento celebrated its 36th anniversary by giving families the keys to a new future.

“A great day, a memorable day, it’s going to stay with me my whole life,” explained Abdullah Yaqubi. “It’s like bestowing a country or gifting a country. This is my world now.”

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Abdullah Yaqubi walked into his new home for the first time Saturday still at a loss for words. His family of five moved to Sacramento from Afghanistan. For years, the entire family has been living in a one-bedroom with little to no room for the family.

“I was in very bad condition,” he explained. “Old apartment, lots of cockroaches, I was in trouble with me (sic) neighbors, lots of insects.”

It’s a new reality for Yaqubi who worked for the US Embassy while in Afghanistan and frequently changed his commute to work after being threatened by the Taliban.

“Whoever works with Americans or goes to government, official places, they are a main target to kill,” he said.

Abdullah Qasimy, a father of six, is also from Afghanistan and worked for the US Air Force.

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“[The Taliban] call me infidel. They try to attack me and kill me many times,” he explained.

He is used to living in a two-bedroom house. His new address on Mandolin Estates is much more than just a place to call home.

“Today was a very important day in my life, having a new home with my family,” he explained.

Leah Miller, CEO and president of Habitat for Humanity Greater Sacramento, hopes the opportunity for the three families opens the door to a new future filled with success.

“For these three families that will receive their keys today, some of whom have had harrowing journeys to get them here today and have faced terror that most of us here will thankfully never know, today marks a new chapter,” Miller said.

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Saturday marked the first dedication ceremony in 18 months after the nonprofit stopped holding in-person events due to COVID. September 11 also marks The Worldwide Day of Service and Remembrance.

Velena Jones