May 1 – Anyone who mistakenly believes construction is “man’s work” will be shocked if they walk past Fairmont Court Southwest in Decatur.
An almost all-female crew is building Morgan County Habitat for Humanity’s 95th house, and they’re building it for a woman who serves as a mentor to struggling young women.
Future owner, Janice Marshall, witnessed the wall rise on April 23 and was thrilled that the construction crew was made up mostly of women.
“I love it, it’s the power of women,” Marshall said. “When I told my sister there were only women there, she said, ‘Well, that’s going to be done right away.'”
Habitat Resource Development Manager Nikki Talent said this is the first time Habitat for Humanity Morgan County has been able to scale its new project, Women Build, to a team of complete build.
“This year we launched a Women Build campaign, consisting of 12 women’s teams, and their goal was to raise $3,500 per team,” Talent said. “In total, the Women Build campaign raised approximately $45,000.”
Eleven of the teams participated in raising the wall. Of the 12 teams, Construction Cuties raised the most funds at $8,700.
Marshall previously lived in northwest Decatur and had an accident that left her partially immobile, having to use a cane to walk.
“I was visiting a friend in her apartment who had just returned from surgery and when I was walking down the steps to leave I was talking to her and didn’t realize how close I was to the walk and therefore the next step I took, I fell all the way down the steps,” Marshall said. “The ambulance had to come and do emergency surgery and all sorts of things.”
The Habitat team kept Marshall’s accident in mind, designing accessibility in his new home. His ranch-style home will be 1,157 square feet when complete.
“We installed the ramp in the carport and the hall is very wide and the doors are (3 feet wide),” said Ashley Thompson, construction manager at Habitat. “Hopefully we can do that for the master bathroom as well.”
To qualify for a Habitat home, individuals must complete at least 100 hours on Habitat for Humanity construction sites and complete 25-30 hours of homeownership courses.
Marshall started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 2019 after hearing about the organization from her niece.
“She told me that (Habitat for Humanity) is accepting applications, so I went downstairs and applied,” Marshall said. “When they told me I was accepted, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s great.'”
Regina Willingham, pastor of God’s Love Covenant Church on Memorial Drive Southwest, first met Marshall through the nonprofit HandsOn where Marshall was a director.
“HandsOn is for young girls who got into trouble… It was like a house they could go and stay for 30 days and (Marshall) was their caretaker,” Willingham said. “She started coming to church with me and she constantly feeds people and loves people, so this house has been very deserving.”
Marshall said one of the things she always wanted in her life was her own home.
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