(2002) Habitat Home

(2002) Habitat Home

Home helps woman's dreams come true

Dec 11, 2002

WELDON -- Kitty Wells lives in a house that love built.

When asked about the experience of helping build her own Habitat for Humanity home, Wells' eyes surveyed the inside walls of her 303 Turner St. house. A beaming smile crinkled the corners of her face and the 44-year-old woman suddenly changed to a bubbly girl of 17.

"Since I got back into church, the Lord has really blessed me," she said. "He blessed me with this house."

A group of college students from Tufts University worked during their March 2000 spring break on Wells' home.

She giggled as she pointed to her kitchen wall. "They all signed my wall on the inside over there.

"It makes me real thankful because I got to help build my home. I tell you, when I went to sign the papers for the deed, that's when I really knew how blessed I was. Everybody was so nice and so sweet -- area churches, International Paper and stuff -- they came and worked on my house. It really touches you deeply in your heart."

John Sing, the project director for the Halifax-Northampton chapter of Habitat for Humanity, came to the church to ask members to volunteer to help construct a Habitat for Humanity house which is now located next door to Wells' home on the corner of Turner Street.

Wells has been a regular member of Chockoyotte Baptist Church for more than eight years. She was a youth group leader in the church, and her group volunteered many hours of service after Sing's visit.

Construction on 303 Turner St. began in 2000, but Habitat for Humanity did not have a partner for the project.

"They had started this house," Wells' said. "I was in a bad situation… So they had talked to my preacher, Jerry Weaver, about it. They asked him if he knew anybody. So he and his wife discussed it and thought about me."

Wells was in a difficult spot at the time. Her aunt went to live elsewhere, and offered to allow Wells to live in her home and keep the bills in her name. Things were going smoothly. Wells paid her aunt's bills, lived in the home and even opened up a small day care center with the help of a small business loan.

But then Wells' luck changed abruptly. Following her aunt's death, a long-lost cousin resurfaced. The man had disappeared many years before without a word to family members, only to mysteriously reappear on Wells' doorstep seven years after her aunt's death.

He offered to sell Wells the home. There was no way she could afford to buy the house, she said. The cousin, frustrated by his failed attempt to sell his mother's home, had his mother's electric and utility accounts canceled.

Wells and her then 16-year-old son were forced to move in with her mother in a two bedroom home. She had to close her day care center, and took a job as a pizza delivery person. Living arrangements were tight in her mother's home.

"The bedroom that my son stayed in, I guess you could call it more of a small closet," Wells said.

Until Sing came to the church to explain the Habitat for Humanity, Wells said she knew nothing about the program. Sing and Weaver approached Wells at her job and asked her if she would like to become a partner in the 303 Turner St. project.

"It was just so cool," Wells said. "Of course, I got real emotional and cried. They wanted to make sure I was OK with the location. So I did, and I had no problem with it. I love my neighbors."

Wells had to be approved as a partner by the Habitat for Humanity board.

"I just had to tell a little bit about myself," she said. "I am really involved in church, I help with the seniors in the city -- I take them on trips and work with them." Wells teaches Sunday School and sings in the choir.

As a partner (a recipient of a Habitat house), Wells was required to put in 400 hours of service with the organization. Habitat house recipients have to take classes in money management and house maintenance. Friends and family members could donate their work time on Habitat projects in Wells' name.

For Wells, helping build her own home was the experience of a lifetime. "I was so excited," she laughed. "They would ask me questions like 'What color carpet would you like? What kind of windows do you want?' And I was just excited to have a doorbell! I've never had a doorbell. And I was excited to have both a screen and glass on the windows, because in most place I lived I had the screen and didn't have the glass…

"I said, 'Y'all just don't know. This is beautiful to me. This is a mansion to me.'"

Habitat money ran out for the Turner Street project, and the house was delayed. But Wells was in the home in time to celebrate Christmas 2001.

"It was awesome," Wells said, "just being in my home."

Connect With Us

Fill out the form below to get in touch with us. 

We help to provide affordable housing for families in need.
Contact us for more info on Homeownership, making a Donation, or to Volunteer with us.