Longview woman receives gift of home ownership for Christmas
By Jessica Ferguson firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec. 16, 2012 at 11 p.m.
A Longview woman and her daughter received what she considers to be the greatest Christmas gift a little early this year - the gift of a permanent home.
Wesla Richardson and her 5-year-old daughter, Veta, moved into their new home in South Longview this past week after completing the requirements for the Habitat for Humanity housing program.
"This is the best Christmas gift," Richardson said as she sat in the living room of her new home.
The home is an upgrade from her small apartment on Seventh Street where she shared a bedroom with her daughter, who always wanted to sleep near her mother despite having her own bed.
"She sleeps in her bed now. ... She has her own room and space to play. The yard is secure, so she can go outside and play."
Richardson's daughter spends a lot of time in the yard, playing with their new dog - a perk of having a home of their own.
For the Richardsons, the new home is more than a structure, but a place of safety and comfort.
"It is security," she said.
The first-time homeowner said she was hesitant about making such a commitment at first, but once she moved in, she knew it was the right decision for her family.
"Now I feel like part of the community, instead of apart from it," she said.
It took the 33-year-old 16 months to complete all of the program requirements which include at least 350 hours of "sweat equity" or volunteer hours working on Habitat projects, Homeowner's College, and deposit payments.
"I had a hard time getting the hours in as a single mother working two jobs," she said.
Richardson is now seeing the results of her sacrifice and hard work as she looks about her home that she helped to fix.
She encourages others who are seeking to own a home to apply with Habitat for Humanity.
"Do the footwork and don't give up. It may seem like you're walking in quicksand, but don't give up. It gets tangible one day," she said.
For now, Richardson is focused on preparing for her first Christmas as a homeowner.
For information on Habitat for Humanity, log onto www.longviewhabitat.org.