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With Habitat's help, Cain finally able to own a home

October 23, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Wanda Cain stood in her living room Sunday, holding tight to a set of keys to her new two-story home on Reynolds Avenue.

She called the home, a Habitat for Humanity house, a "wonderful gift."

But it wasn't a handout.

Cain applied for a Habitat home in 2004, and worked for several hundred hours on its construction.

Cain said she never could have called herself a homeowner without Habitat, which sold the home to her at a reduced price and offers her no-interest mortgage payments.

"I'm just numb and overwhelmed with joy," Cain said during a dedication ceremony for the home Sunday.

She said she plans to move into the home soon with two of her four children. The family had been living on George Street in Hagerstown for about three years.

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The three upstairs bedrooms each were painted a different color. Cain's bedroom is lavender - one of her favorite colors. Her 12-year-old daughter Malinda Cain's room is bright pink; her son, Jermaine Cain, 18, chose to have his room painted bright blue.

"It's like a little cottage," Cain said. "And it's mine."

Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, said Cain's home differed from most other Habitat for Humanity homes because it is two levels. The typical plan calls for a one-story home.

"We wanted to blend with the neighborhood," she said. "And the other homes are fairly large Victorian homes."

Cain's 1,200-square-foot house was the 23rd the Washington County chapter of Habitat for Humanity has built since 1994, said Dori Nipps, committee coordinator for Habitat.

Walking around her new home, Cain said she was going to try to move in slowly over the next few weeks, but she could be allowed to move in by today.

"The kids want to move in (today)," she said. "If they have to sleep on carpets, they said they will."

Cain said she's been saving money for about a year and has enough to buy new furniture, something she has not had in more than 20 years. She said she would be picking up new beds for her children soon, and she has plans to purchase a new living room set.

So far, her favorite part of the new house is the closet in her bedroom.

"My walk-in closet," Cain said. "I've never ever had a decent closet in my life until now."

Nipps said the site for Cain's house was purchased several years ago after a home that was on the land burned down.

Another Habitat for Humanity home dedication is planned for November. That Hagerstown home will go to a Hurricane Katrina survivor, Nipps said.

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