Tameka Ware found it hard to hold back the tears as she was given the keys to her new home from Crystal Coast Habitat for Humanity.
Ware had put in 400 sweat equity hours and received home ownership education to be able to move into to the 1,128-square-foot, two-bedroom home in Newport with her son Xavier.
“It will be so nice to have some place that is completely new and nobody’s been in it but us,” Ware said after thanking volunteers.
The Wares and a handful of volunteer builders and Crystal Coast Habitat for Humanity board members were celebrating completion of the home with a dedication, but right down the lane off Oscar Hill Road, the group held a groundbreaking for the organization’s 89th Habitat home in Carteret and Onslow counties.
Serita Brewington and her sons Jaylyn and David turned over ceremonial shovels of dirt at a blessing of their home site.
The concrete block foundation for the Brewington home was well underway Thursday.
“It’s a very special day. It’s exciting. It’s a blessing. I was surprised to see that they had already started some of it. It’s just amazing. I’m just blessed,” Brewington said. “I’m a single parent. I have two boys, 12 and 4. I’ve always rented so it’s exciting the thought of owning a home. I’m only 28. The boys have a lot of land around where they can play. There are a lot of trees. I’m looking forward to it.”
Brewington thanked the organization and its volunteers.
“I appreciate them 1,000 percent for volunteering their time. They‘re wonderful. I would do anything to come out and help and show my appreciation for them,” she said.
Bishop Clyde Felton blessed the home.
“I think it is good that Habitat helps the people in the community because it helps a lot of people that are unable to help themselves,” he said. “I’m a construction worker myself and have built some of these houses in the past. They’re real good to work with.”
Leonard Farrugia, a long-time Newport building contractor, led the effort as a superintendent for Habitat for Humanity.
“Habitat was in need of a superintendent and I just happened to walk in and talk to them about it and they put me on as their full-time superintendent,” he said. “It’s quite rewarding. We’ve built custom homes for people and things like that but most of the time these folks are just so grateful and so happy. It’s more rewarding to build this than it is to build a million dollar home to be honest with you.”
Kris Durham, executive director for Crystal Coast Habitat for Humanity, said the dual groundbreaking and home dedication on the same day were a first for the organization, and the organization picked Valentine’s Day for a reason.
“We wanted to show that we have a lot of love in the community and we get a lot of help from the volunteers,” Durham said. “We’re especially proud to know that the Marines, when they have time, have been helping on the Habitat homes as well.
“We work with families that are low income. We build, in partnership with them, homes that are affordable, and help get them out of their poverty housing or homelessness situations and get on track with having a safe secure place to raise their families.”
Durham said the new homes would have bills for electricity that would be less than $30 a month.
The waiting list for a home is three to seven years depending on which county a family lives.
“This program allows them to do that with a zero percent mortgage but they have to put some skin in the game,” Durham said. “They have to do their sweat equity hours and they have to do their home ownership education. The end result is a mortgage payment less than $500 a month. That includes their taxes and insurance.
“Some of the volunteers are retirees from the military that still stayed in the area. We’ve got volunteers that retired from other places around the United States. They come out every week and help build. We get some youth groups, some college groups that come and help.”