A Phenix City woman was all smiles Saturday after she was officially presented the keys to a new home on 22nd Avenue.
“I am very, very happy,” Kiara James said. “I truly, truly thank God for my home. It’s just amazing I was able to look out for my family and provide a brand new home.”
James, 28, is owner of the first home built this year by Habitat for Humanity of Phenix City and the 62nd home in the city since the non-profit organization has been helping families over the past 17 years.
As part of her down payment, James poured 500 hours of sweat equity into her three-bedroom, one-bath home. A single mother, James has a 15-month-old daughter, Kendalyn.
James, an Aflac employee, admitted she’s not an outside person when it comes to construction, but she made it through. “I had to go to work early. I had to take some time off,” she said. “If you want your home bad enough, you will do what you have to do to get it.”
By the time the house was completed, James said she felt confident about caulking walls and floors, installing insulation, painting walls and installing cabinets and sinks. “I can pretty much go to Home Depot and remodel my home by myself,” she said.
In addition to her keys, James was presented a basket full of cleaning supplies from Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of personal and household care products.
To build the house, Connie Ramsay-Austin said it took 36 sponsors, from college students visiting from Illinois and Wisconsin to local sponsors with food donations, volunteer help and others. “That’s how we put a Habitat house together,” she said.
Ramsay-Austin, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Phenix City, said big corporations like to get involved when they see things in the community. “Everyone wants to support the community and make the community a better place,” she said.
The organization also holds fundraisers to build more houses. Materials to build a house, wood siding and electrical work cane be donated. “We rely heavily on donations from the community,” Ramsay-Austin said. “We will build as many houses as we can, but we need support from the community.”
Habitat For Humanity usually takes applications the first of February, March and April. There are four pages, including information on income. To learn more about the process or to donate, call Ramsay-Austin at 334-291-5220 or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If you have what it takes to get out there and work for your brand new home, get out and apply it,” James said.