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This home is ours

 

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Monica Stallworth, 35, discovered many skills she didn’t know she had while earning her sweat-equity hours with Hattiesburg Area Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi.

   

Monica Stallworth, 35, discovered many skills she didn’t know she had while earning her sweat-equity hours with Hattiesburg Area Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi.

“I did not want to get up on the roof and lay shingles,” she said, laughing. “But once I got up there, I didn’t want to get down.”

Stallworth’s home is being built with funds and volunteer labor supplied by West Point Baptist Church, where she has been a member for years. Stallworth will share the home with her daughters Brittany, 13, and Laterrica, 14, and baby son Bryson, 1.

The economic downturn has made survival more challenging than ever. After working at an air-conditioner factory making parts for more than three years, Stallworth recently was laid off. She is babysitting for others and working part-time at the Hattiesburg Habitat office while looking for a new job.

“It will feel different to own a home,” she said. “It’s so exciting. I can pay my mortgage! And own my own home! I love paying my bills on time and keeping everything up to date.

“It’s not scary,” she added. “I’ll find a good job. I know I will.”

A native of Pascagoula, Stallworth has lived in Hattiesburg since 2000. The entire congregation of West Point Baptist Church, located just down the street, helped build the Stallworth family’s home. At the dedication ceremony, a church choir member—who also serves on the board of Hattiesburg Habitat—brought the crowd to tears with a stirring rendition of “To God Be the Glory.”

“It’s very emotional to talk about this,” Stallworth said. “It’s such a blessing for a single mother. This home is ours, and that’s very special.”