LONGVIEW -- The plumbing in Lakeshia Poole’s apartment leaks, dribbling down the walls. She and her three children have seen scorpions and snakes in their apartment and in their complex. But as a cashier at a Longview grocery store, she couldn’t afford a better place for her family.
Then one day, her mother told her about the Habitat for Humanity homeownership program. Poole applied in 2011 and, after going through the application process and background checks, was added to the waiting list. It took her over a year to complete her 350 hours of sweat equity before moving to the front of the line for a Habitat house. Construction began on her new home, the 2012 Women Build house, on October 13.
“I always said that by the time I was 30 I wanted to have my own house,” Poole said. “And with my kids getting older, I wanted a more stable place where they could grow up. Now, things are finally falling into place for me.”
The children -- Jeramyah, 11; Jamoryah, 9; and Jalisyah, 3 – are excited to get their own house.
“They ask every day, ‘When are we moving, Mama?’” Poole said. “They’re already bugging me to get a dog.”
Poole’s house is the 80th built by Longview Habitat for Humanity and is this year’s Women Build house. Women Build is Habitat’s volunteer program for women who want to learn construction skills, and build homes and communities.
“There is no experience necessary,” said Longview Habitat for Humanity Executive Director LaJuan Hollis. “If you don’t have any construction skills, don’t worry! Many women come to Women Build sites with no construction skills at all and still make a great impact. We will have experienced crew leaders on-site to provide instruction and guidance.”
More than 80 people came out for the first day of construction, and more are coming back from 8 a.m. until noon each Saturday morning to continue working. The response from the volunteers makes Poole very proud.
“They are a blessing,” she said. “It makes me feel like people still care, because it doesn’t usually feel like people care about us, but the people on the job site do.”
Poole encourages everyone to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, on her house or any other.
“Come out and volunteer, it’s exciting,” she said. “We are learning how to put a house together in a short amount of time, and all the stuff we do is useful around the house. (The volunteers) are very good people to be around and the environment is happy, like a big family. It’s all different people in different places in their lives.”
The 2012 Women Build house is located at 506 Park Street, just a block from Stamper Park. For more information about how to volunteer, visit www.longviewhabitat.org or just come by one Saturday morning to help. No experience is necessary and newcomers are welcome.
Habitat for Humanity works with low-income families to build decent housing that would otherwise be unaffordable. Habitat’s reliance on volunteer labor and donated materials significantly lowers cost for new homeowners. Habitat makes no profit on the homes and charges no interest on their 20-30 year mortgages.
Additional photos from the first build day are available on LHFH’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.498167456868647.122445.116591198359610&type=3