Habitat opens door for one local family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2004

After years of sharing rooms, sharing a yard and giving up much-desired privacy, the Blount family is getting its own house, a house it will help the Demopolis Habitat for Humanity to build.

Lavon Blount will be the first recipient of a Demopolis Habitat home, something she has been waiting on for more than a year.

“They told me in September of last year that I had been selected, in fact, it was Sept. 4 because I framed the letter,” she said. Since then the project has been slow-going as volunteers and donations were rustled up, but Monday evening Blount and two of her three children were on site on Chestnut Avenue to break ground on their new home.

“It feels great,” Blount said as she surveyed the corner lot. “It’s a blessing.”

The single mother works at the Athlete’s Foot while trying to raise her three children, Willie, Shay Greene and Marketia.

Marketia was unable to attend the dedication because of volleyball practice, and Willie still wore his uniform from football practice. Shay smile quietly and said she was looking forward to having her own room.

The new home means more than no more shared rooms, Blount said.

“We can’t have a dog where we are and (Willie’s) been wanting a dog; (Shay’s) been wanting a trampoline, we couldn’t have that,” she said, indicating those were things to work toward once the home was completed.

Though it will still be another 16 weeks to complete the home and move in, Blount said it is worth the wait.

“A lot of times you’re struggling and you feel like you’re not going anywhere, then God answers your prayers,” she said. “This just proves good things come to those who are patient and believe in God.”

This first home is not only a dream come true for Blount and her family, but for the many people who worked to found the Demopolis Habitat for Humanity.

“This is a day we’ve been waiting on,” President Freddy Charleston said. “It was almost two years ago when someone asked ‘how can we get Habitat for Humanity to Demopolis,’ that person was none other than Cecil Williamson, who is now our mayor to be sworn in next month.”

Williamson got together with Chamber of Commerce Director Jay Shows and Demopolis resident Laura Foster and formed a committee, which Shows chaired.

“After many meetings, phone calls and lawyer’s work, it happened,” Charleston said. “In January 2003, the Demopolis Habitat for Humanity became affiliated with the National Habitat for Humanity.”

Habitat serves a dual role, according to Charleston, of providing low-cost housing to families in need and revitalizing old neighborhoods by renovating dilapidated buildings or building new ones on vacant lots.

“Our goal is to eliminate substandard housing and homelessness everywhere,” Charleston said.

Foster recognized local attorney Tom Boggs for his tireless effort in preparing all legal documents and work needed, and then, with tears in her eyes and a choked voice, Blount addressed those gathered, many of whom had been on the project from day one.

“I can’t tell you in words how much this means to me and my kids,” she said. She said she looks forward to the day she and her children can move into the new home.

The project still needs volunteers and donations, however. To volunteer, contact Terry Charleston or Blount. Donations can be made to Robertson Bank.