HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Habitat for Humanity has built 130 homes and helped more than 400 people in the Tri-State area for nearly three decades, and on Friday evening they added one more to the list.
Teresa Colton, a life long Huntington resident, received the keys to her new two-bedroom home that stands on what used to be a vacant lot on the 300 block of 18th Street West in Huntington, during a home dedication ceremony held by Habitat for Humanity of the Tri-State on Friday.
“I’d like to thank all the volunteers, Habitat for Humanity. . . and thank you for my house,” said Colton.
The previous property owner, Nellie Hatfield, donated the lot to Habitat for Humanity of the Tri-State, so it could be put to good use, and Colton, who was previously living in a small apartment along Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington, is glad she did.
“It was sweet. it was nice. I was glad to meet her, and she is more than welcome to come over any time,” said Colton.
David Michael, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of the Tri-State, said the non-profit organization has been helping low income families in the Tri-State area for about 30 years.
“We work with a population that is 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income, so when you translate that to dollars for a family of four that is an annual income $22,000 to $23,000, with a maximum of $33,000 or so,” said Michael.
The executive director also said the organization has three more homes in the works in Wurtland, Kentucky, Portsmouth, Ohio, and another one in Huntington, and even though he is proud of their success, there is still a lot more work still to be done.
“There are way to many families and individuals that live in substandard housing in our community and pay way too much for that. They are paying 40 -50 percent of their monthly income,” said Michael.
He said Colton will pay a zero-interest mortgage on her home to keep cost affordable, and she was also given a gift certificate to the Habitat for Humanity Restore to help furnish the home. The Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington also donated food so Colton’s refrigerator and kitchen cabinets were full.
Michael said applicants who qualify for the program are not just given keys to homes. They must volunteer at Habitat for Humanity and put in some “Sweat Equity”.
“That is where they work on their own house or other people’s houses. They volunteer at fundraisers. They can come into the administrative offices and do some tasks that we need help with. they can even help in our Habitat for Humanity Restore,” said Michael.
He said Colton put in 250 “Sweat Equity” hours before she moved into her new home.
Habitat for Humanity of the Tri-State serves five counties: Cabell County in West Virginia, Scioto and Lawrence County in Ohio, and Boyd and Greenup County in Kentucky.