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Meet Dawn Minster

Homeowner Dawn“I know there’s a God up above.” When asked about her experience with Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, these were among Dawn Minster’s first words.

Dawn, a 71 year old single woman, has been working at the Petco in Huntersville for five years. She has never owned a home, but is currently residing in an apartment where she must spend more than 30 percent of her income on housing. For years, housing costs have caused difficulties for her and her family, and putting food on the table has been a constant worry and struggle. When asked about it, Dawn said, “Do you know how many times I had PB&J sandwiches and I didn’t know how many days I would have to feed PB&J to my kids?”

Although her children have now grown up and moved out, Dawn has been left providing for herself, attempting to survive from day to day. So, with encouragement from a couple attending Grace Covenant Church, she decided to apply for a Habitat home.

Every Saturday, from March 28th to June 20th, volunteers from the congregations gathered to build Dawn’s house, from framing the walls to doing the final landscaping. Dawn has remained busy as well, logging more than the 400 hours of sweat equity required by Habitat to be a homeowner.

In her words, “I don’t sit still.” Quoting one Habitat mantra, “It’s a hand up not a hand out,” Dawn stressed that as a homeowner you must be willing to work. Her gratitude has been immense and she cannot thank people enough. Dawn described it as an “overwhelming” and “amazing” feeling to have such a community of support, and stated that “If I can do for someone else what people here have done for me before I leave the face of the earth, I feel I’ll have accomplished something.”

After going through three unsuccessful marriages, the first abusive, with no one around her having the time or energy to help her out, Dawn believes that her more recent involvement in the church, the support of her family, and the prayers that she and others have offered have made a difference: “Just being here has been a gift…It’s not just my house, it’s the house of the Lord.”

Dawn Minster invested time and sweat to make her new home a reality for herself. She attended 8 life skills classes on personal finances, budgeting, home maintenance, fire safety and more. Plus, she worked 400 hours of sweat equity building her home as well as other Habitat homes under construction. Dawn will assume a Habitat, no interest mortgage that she will be responsible for each month along with maintaining the home and meeting Habitat for Humanity standards for being a good citizen.

Zuriyah Clary and Tina Caldwell Home Dedication

Extreme Remodel Home Dedication

Homeowner TelmaTelma Mendoza, 59 came to the United States 9 years ago from Columbia to find a new home. She moved to Huntersville and works two part-time jobs along with selling water purification systems.

“She’s responsible, organized and a very hard worker, completing all of her 400 Habitat sweat equity hours on her own,” shares Manny Rasado, Construction Manager with Our Towns Habitat. Telma says, “Manny is an angel the lord put in her path.” She speaks very little English and Manny has helped guide her way.

Telma learned about Our Towns Habitat through a friend who was visiting the Habitat office. She thanks God that she found Habitat. “It’s like a dream come true to own my first home. God bless Habitat for helping me to help others. The trickle-down effect of Habitat is inspiring and I am thankful to help others going through this process.”

She says her new Habitat home is going to enable her to have more security, peace and privacy. “I am so excited about being able to beautify my new home with plants and flowers,” shares Telma. She has one son, Juan in his twenties and a nephew who lives in the Charlotte area.

Telma Mendoza invested time and sweat to make her new home a reality.She attended 8 life skills classes on personal finances, budgeting, home maintenance, fire safety and more. Plus, she worked 400 hours of sweat equity building her home as well as other Habitat homes under construction. Mrs. Mendoza will assume a Habitat, no interest mortgage that she will be responsible for each month along with maintaining the home and meeting Habitat for Humanity standards for being a good citizen.

Congratulations to Our New Habitat Homeowners!

Dedications were held on April 28 in Cornelius and May 2 in Davidson. Homeowners enjoyed the celebration of their new home.
Friends, family, volunteers and donors gathered to wish them well and Bless their new home!!

Telma Mendoza was welcomed into her new Habitat Extreme Remodel home Saturday, May 2, 2015 located on Cardinal Court in Davidson. Once a home that was quite a nuisance to neighbors has become a welcome addition to the community after a complete renovation of all the interior.

She worked long hours, learned construction skills and attended Habitat life skills classes. Telma will assume a 30 year Habitat no interest mortgage. She’s so thankful for this opportunity and the support of Habitat in her journey to own her first home. This home was made possible through a grant received in partnership with the Town of Davidson.

Wall Family

The Wall Family

The Wall Family gathered after cutting the ribbon of their new home in Cornelius on Saturday, April 28. The home is in the Smithville community on Ferry Street.

Andrew and Harriet Wall’s twin daughters, Sharonda and Adarondo, both attend Hough High School and are stellar students. The Wall Family home was made possible through a partnership with the Town of Cornelius, HOME funds grant.

Interested in learning more about becoming a Habitat homeowner? Visit www.ourtownshabitat.org or call 704-896-8957. Information sessions are held monthly. Meet our homeowners!

Chat With a Habitat Homeowner

Healthy at Home! Jillian Coffey, who along with her children are thriving!

When Jillian Coffey, a 31-year-old single mother of two children, got the keys to her new home in the Norman Park neighborhood in Huntersville in October 2013, she was more than happy.

She was healthier, too. “I had lost 70 pounds,” says Jillian, who had kept active while putting in her sweat equity hours on weekends at various Habitat home sites and saw a lot of her stress melt away, as the reality of becoming a homeowner drew closer.

Jillian completed the application of homeownership with Our Towns Habitat in 2012. She was living with her mother, while working two jobs, raising her daughter (then 5 years old) and saving money. For 14 months, she attended classes on finances and budgeting, and she worked in construction of other Habitat homes.

“I worked every Saturday, and it built my confidence,” recalls Jillian. “I really enjoyed the fellowship with the crew and the many community volunteers. We prayed at the end of every workday, and that was special.”

Now, Jillian and her children, Rhianna and Gabe, live gratefully each day in their three-bedroom energy-efficient home. Jillian is continuing her 13-year career with Food Lion (currently working as the deli sales manager) and finishing her final semesters at Mitchell Community College to graduate in May 2016 as a registered nurse.

While the $379 monthly mortgage payment makes her happier than her previous $950 rent bills, the beautiful landscaping around her new home brings her joy.

“I love every season, and I have taken up gardening,” says Jillian. “Our Towns Habitat helped me to see that, if you work hard, God will bless you. It was my dream to own a safe home for my kids to grown up in … and one I could provide for them.”

ReStores Seeking Volunteers

All 3 Habitat ReStores are seeking volunteers to fill shifts during operating hours, Tuesday – Saturday from 9am-5pm.

Positions include Cashier Extraordinaire!, Donations Drop-Off Assistant, DIY (Do it Yourself Enthusiast! Appliance & Electronics Tester, Book Lover Volunteers, Sales Floor Volunteer, Pricing & Sorting Assistant and Linen Specialist….a wide assortment of duties to fit many interests. Visit www.ourtownsrestore.org to complete an application. And give the ReStore a call with questions!

Special Thanks to the Extraordinary Volunteers who Support our Operation!

Critical Urgent Repairs Impacting Families

Since 2011, 49 Urgent Critical Repairs have been completed in Iredell County. Earlier this year, Our Towns Habitat helped the Guerrero family home in Cleveland, NC.

Ms. Guerrero, a single mother, has a 17 year old son who was paralyzed in an auto accident.

For more than a year, she pushed and pulled him up the stairs to their home. With funds supplied by URP (Urgent Repair Program), Habitat was able to purchase the materials needed for the ramp.  Volunteers from First Baptist Church in Statesville helped construct the handicap ramp and the Guerrero family is very thankful for the support of Our Towns Habitat.

Our Towns Habitat at Work in Statesville and Iredell County

Family Services works in the Statesville Habitat office 2 days a week Tuesday 8:30-2:30 and Thursday 8:30-4:30. Since the end of November, we’ve met with over 160 families, processed 95 applications and made over 60 referrals to agencies such as I-Care, and USDA for repairs and other non-housing related needs.

During our first 90 days in Statesville we held an information session yielding more than 40 attendees and processed 45 new applications. There is a strong need for repairs in Statesville. We see about 6-10 families a week that are elderly, living in a home with critical repairs that they cannot afford to fix, and living on a fixed income.

Repairs range from broken septic systems, no working water, electrical issues, homes not handicap accessible, roof repairs, broken windows, water damage, and much more. Please help us to continue our work in Statesville.

The Statesville ReStore continues to grow and thrive with new merchandise, donations and shoppers to the store. Interested in volunteering at the Statesville ReStore? They are seeking volunteers during store hours, Tuesday – Saturday 9am-5pm. Contact Dawn Bumgarner, store manager at dawn@ourtownshabitat.org for more information. Read more about the store in the article published in the Statesville Record & Landmark.

News – May 2015

Dear Habitat Family,

Our Towns mailed a letter to those in our support network last week, calling on everyone to become a “Hope Builder,” and the initial response inspired me to write this letter. Thank you.

The term “Hope Builder” comes from our mission statement:

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Hope is powerful. In The Inferno, Virgil describes Dante’s entrance into Hell and writes, “The path through the dark woods leads to an archway, which is the true entrance into Hell. On its high arch are inscribed in dim colours the words: All hope abandon ye who enter here.”

Hope Builders can save people from a life of despair. According to the letter that was mailed out last week, “Your support provides housing solutions that can provide a path out of poverty for families in ‘Our Towns’ and gives HOPE to those in need.”

For example, one homeowner said:

My son’s respiratory health condition has improved by living in healthy housing conditions.

Hope inspires all of us. Three days after the mailing was distributed we received a gift for $1,000 from a longtime supporter. A second gift came in for $100 from a first time donor. Others decided to become a monthly Hope Builder with an ongoing commitment to give.

We believe that everyone can become a Hope Builder. Please find the mailing that was sent to you or look for it online. Read the wonderful stories and testimonies from those who faced the ugly threshold of hopelessness and find out what happened to them when Habitat showed up. Consider the call to action and respond as you are able. Thank you for becoming Hope Builders and for what you are going to do next.

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