Habitat for Humanity dedicates 100th home

Dec. 22, 2012 @ 02:26 PM

Union County Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 100th house on Saturday, completing the Gulf Bay Estates project in Marshville. 

"It's a blessing," Gertrude Kilgo said. She and her grandson will move into the 100th house after the holidays. 

Kilgo had a house in the area before, but it was torn down in July. 

She loved the large living room in her new house and the kitchen, she added that she loves to cook. 

Her grandson was on a mission trip during the dedication, but she said he was excited about moving in. 

Matoka Nixon's house was also dedicated Saturday. She and her four children had already moved in. 

"It's more than what I expected," Nixon said. "We just feel really blessed." 

Nixon was thankful to all the family, friends and volunteers who helped make her new home possible. She was also thankful for Carolinas Medical Center-Waxhaw and Euto Baptist Church. 

"(I am) most excited about being a homeowner," Nixon said. 

Prior to moving in, she and her four children lived in an apartment. 

"I didn't think (home ownership) would be in reach right now," Nixon said. 

Nixon was thankful for Habitat for Humanity, "just for doing what they do and making this possible," she said. 

Executive Director Mike Reece said the chapter has expanded a lot over the past 10 years. 

"It feels good, it really does," Reece said. 

Over the past 10 years, the chapter has averaged about seven-and-a-half houses a year. 

The boost was due to many factors, including moving the ReStore to Highway 74, receiving grant money, volunteers, board members and other components. 

It takes them about 16 weeks to build each home. They are Energy-Star rated, made with brick veneer on the exterior, low maintenance and mostly valued between $120,000 and $130,000. 

Reece has participated in about 76 dedications. 

His favorite part is watching the families, their expressions  and sometimes the tears in their eyes. 

"We're changing lives," Reece said. 

With the Gulf Bay estates completed, the chapter will begin building elsewhere. They have two lots in Monroe and want to secure six lots in Wingate and another 10 to 12 lots in Marshville. 

They will begin building again in January. 

"The need continues to be great in Union County," Reece said. 

The chapter receives about 120 applicants for housing a year and approves about 20 of them. 

Next year, Union County Habitat will be partnering with the Anson County chapter to build homes there as well. They also partner with Chesterfield and soon Marlboro counties in South Carolina. 

"(We are) continuing to grow," Reece said. 

The chapter will be applying to receive homes from the Bank of America partnership. Though Habitat for Humanity International initially said the Union County chapter would not be participating. The chapter is eligible and will apply for homes. 

Reece said they intend to clean up, rehabilitate and put families into any homes they receive from Bank of America. 

The chapter's goal next year is to build 14 homes.