Wilbourne talks Habitat For Humanity at Rotary

Dawn Wilbourne talks with Keith Mooney after she addressed the West Point Rotary Club on behalf of Habitat For Humanity.
Staff Writer

Clay County Habitat For Humanity has given a hand up to 15 families living in West Point and Clay County to allow them the pride of homeownership. The no-interest loan has enabled families to become proud homeowners and good neighbors.

"I was a single parent 25 years ago," Dawn Wilbourne, president of CCHFH, said. "I had a three-year-old and a ten-year-old and that was one of the hardest, scariest times of my life. When you are a single parent you live in a constant state of fear. It's hard to afford even the basic needs of running a household."

When sitting down with a potential Habitat partner, they are treated with the same respect and dignity that we, ourselves want to be treated with, Wilbourne said. Most of the habitat partners are single parents, so Wilbourne understands the need to find affordable housing. Providing stability for families is something Habitat For Humanity strives for.

"We want to continue to provide safe and affordable housing," Wilbourne said. "It's hard to find a decent place to buy or rent."

Most rental houses are far out of the reach of a single parent with one income, and to purchase a home is only a dream.

'We've had such positive feedback from our partner families and from the community," Wilbourne said. "The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation has helped us so much in the past with the Wine and Cheese Fundraiser. It is a fun night to socialize and its a great simple way to get together support Habitat."

For those who are not Habitat partners, there is Brush With Kindness. This part of Habitat builds wheelchair ramps for those who are disabled and offers a helping hand in other ways where it is needed.

"And we have Repair and Rehab," Wilbourne said. "For our partners, because along with owning a home is upkeep. We help when an air conditioning unit breaks down, the roof needs repairs, things like that are hard to find the money to repair or replace."

There are 15 families in the West Point, Clay County area who have had a hand up with Habitat For Humanity. They put 250 to 500 hours of sweat equity into the home, and often they continue to help with other homes. It is all done with volunteer labor.

"We do not give away houses," Wilbourne said. "We offer a no-interest load to those who qualify, there is a screening process. We try to provide a home every three years. We don't have the resources that larger communities have, but we do what we can."

There will not be a Woman Build this year. Wilbourne said the grant went toward other communities , but there is always an outpouring of those willing to volunteer.

"We thank everyone for the support." Wilbourne said. "There are so many groups and individuals who help us to be able to help people right here."

There have been three homeowners who have completely paid off the loan and own their homes outright.

"We've had a note-burning ceremony at the Episcopal Church," Wilbourne said. "And the partner was so grateful and everyone enjoyed being part of the ceremony and congratulating her. It's wonderful to see how proud our partners are to own their own home."