Local mother gets keys to Habitat for Humanity house

August 21, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • People mingle outside a Habitat for Humanity home on Interval Road in Hagerstown Sunday after a dedication ceremony.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The 35th Habitat for Humanity house in Washington County was turned over to a mother and her 6-year-old son Sunday in a ceremony that included songs, gifts for the woman and the shedding of some tears.

The woman who took ownership of the house on Interval Road  — Elaine — did not want her last name used.

Elaine said she found out about Habitat for Humanity through her mother. She said she wanted her own house because the places she could afford to rent were not situated in areas decent enough to raise her son.

Volunteers and others who worked on the one-story, yellow house, crowded into the home Sunday at 2 p.m. for the dedication ceremony.

Food Resources Inc. stocked the kitchen’s shelves with food and Elaine was given gifts, including a tool set.

“She knows how to use them,” someone yelled from the audience inside.

People who qualify for Habitat for Humanity homes must put 500 hours of “sweat equity” into the homes.

Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, said she started with the organization 12 years ago and her first house dedication was for the organization’s ninth home.

“I still get emotional and cry,” Cooper said outside the Interval Road home after the ceremony.

“It’s because all that the community and these volunteers do,” said Cooper, adding that the 36th Habitat for Humanity house will soon be dedicated on Salem Avenue.

The Interval Road home was the second one constructed by the Apostles Build group. The apostles are churches who come together to build homes like Jesus’ apostles, who came together to spread the word of God, said Kathy Powderly, director of development for the local Habitat for Humanity group.

Volunteers from 29 churches, three faith groups and five local business worked to build Elaine’s home, officials said. In what was one of the fastest projects for the organization, the exterior of the home was nearly completed in a “miniblitz” building session during a weekend in June, officials said.

The house was finished two months later, officials said.

Cooper said Elaine was a joy to work with because she was so appreciative of how Habitat for Humanity was helping her.

“You were just a cool breeze on those long, hot days,” Cooper told Elaine during the ceremony.

“It was a wonderful experience I will never forget,” Elaine said after the ceremony.

Cooper said there is a common misconception that Habitat for Humanity houses are given to people. In fact, the people who qualify for the homes must pay for them through interest-free mortgages through Habitat for Humanity, Cooper said.

Qualifications for getting a Habitat for Humanity home include meeting income guidelines and being unable to obtain a conventional loan, Cooper said.

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