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'I can't believe it' Houston County Habitat for Humanity helps Warner Robins women become home owners

This is the organizations 68th build to help folks become home owners. They plan to build 6 more homes in 2023.

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — Houston County Habitat for Humanity is helping people in the community become homeowners. 

October 8 they began work on their 2022 Women's Build Project. This is the organization's 68th home build. The project is being built in Warner Robins on E. Imperial Circle.

HCHFH says 36% of the housing stock is rental, and 40% of those renters are cost-burdened. To aid families looking to get affordable housing, the organization uses funding they've received from organizations, businesses, and local partners to fund projects like Women's Build. 

This year's sponsors included corporations like Cox, Geico, Flint Energies, and other community sponsors. 

The donations all benefited the family of Sheila Smith, the 2022 Women's Build recipient.

Smith had been a resident of Warner Robins since 2019, and she works at the Robins Air Force Base. 

She says she found out the news on Mother's Day of this year, and it was the best gift she could have received. 

Smith currently rents an apartment and says she's so grateful to now calling herself a homeowner. 

"This is my home, like my retirement home. I'm so grateful I can't believe it'" says Smith. 

Construction crews and volunteers from Women of Worth Ministry came out to help the Smiths build towards their new life. 

"I envision having my grandkids over, having dinners, holidays meals, holiday celebrations, and just enjoying all that God has given us," says Smith. 

Smith says she has 16 grandchildren, and two of them had the opportunity to help with the build Saturday. 

"It was absolutely amazing to see because they've never held any tools," says Smith. 

Adding that, "It will be a lasting memory for them saying, "Hey, I'm living in the house I built."' 

Smith says she hopes to one day pass the home down to her grandchildren. 

That's what this project is all about says Jim Taylor.

 He's the Development Director with the Houston County Habitat. 

He says through community sponsorships, donations, and volunteering they get the supplies to build the home. When it's time to start the build everyone pitches in.

"It's really workforce housing because this isn't for someone that can't pay it back. This isn't a give away this is a hand up not a handout," he says. 

Taylor says the average cost of a home is about $190,000, but through Habitat, they can do a build for about $71,000. 

It's a way to get more affordable housing in the area for folks who can pay the mortgage with a zero percent interest rate for 20 years.

"It gives people affordable housing with dignity, because it's theirs, and isn't that the American dream right there?" says Taylor

Smith says she has taken full advantage of this, dedicating her house back to the lord. She says she bought four Bibles and had her pastor pray over them.

"I placed the Bibles in each corner of the foundation before they poured it," says Smith.

Smith wanted to give a special thank you to all of the sponsors that donated supplies, food, and money for them to build their new homes. She also thanks the Women of Worth Ministry and other volunteers for donating their time. This project has been such a great experience for her that she plans to give back on future projects.

"As these volunteers have done here for me, I want to do for other families," Smith says.

And you can too. Taylor says if you would like to donate or volunteer with the Houston County Habitat for Humanity you visit their website.

You can also donate by giving or buying items at the Houston County Habitat for Humanity ReStore. You can donate or buy used furniture, appliances, and tools.

Taylor says because of donations made by local and national organizations they will be able to build 6 homes in 2023. One that they are excited about is their Veterans build, but they are still looking for a veteran. 

If you know a veteran going through a rough patch, you can nominate them by contacting the organization and asking for Tiffany Dupree.


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