The leaky, cold trailer that shelters Sherrie and Sage Mathus will soon become a memory when mother and daughter move into their brand-new home provided by Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.
The Mathus family, local residents and members of the business community, will gather to celebrate the dedication of house No. 13 this Sunday.
"I'm overjoyed house 13 is done," said Pastor Charles Proudfoot, president of the local Habitat chapter. "It's a good house and a good family, and we're excited."
The spirit of this house fostered generosity and partnerships, Proudfoot added. House 13 shifted into high gear when local businesses stepped up with cash and land donations. Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty served as the project's main
sponsor, giving nearly $40,000 of financial support. Chase Bank followed with $10,000 and Payson Community Kids, which owned the neighboring land, sold it to Habitat at a reduced price.
"This house came together with help from partners in the community," Proudfoot said.
Through Habitat's Adopt-a-House program, individuals and organizations provided other amenities -- everything from shingles to an entire bathroom.
Construction began on the two-bedroom, one-bathroom site-built house this past spring. Proudfoot, however, said the Mathus case was uncommon; Habitat for Humanity normally seeks larger families rather than a single mother and child. Sherrie applied, and was turned down, three times. Then in 2005, PAHH's board chose another family, but they backed out. Sherrie and Sage were next in line.
"We're definitely blessed," Sherrie said. "It's been a long time coming. It didn't happen overnight. You just have to keep doing it and it was meant to be."
John Wilson and his wife served as Sherrie's mentors.
"It's interesting being the mentor for the recipient and helping her with budgeting and the options for the house," Wilson said. The Wilsons helped the Mathus family accrue the sweat equity required to fulfill their end of the agreement.
"Being a single mother, she had the challenge of getting the number of hours in to qualify," Wilson said. "She had to do most of the painting herself."
Sweat equity is the foundation of Habitat for Humanity's program. Recipients must complete 300 hours total with the help of family and friends -- the beneficiaries are required to accumulate 180 of those hours.
Sweat equity is merely a sliver of the approval process. To qualify, Habitat for Humanity requires minimum income and credit obligations, a down payment, and a monthly mortgage that does not exceed 25 percent of the income, but includes the principal, tax and insurance.
"They have to be living in substandard housing and have the ability to pay the mortgage," Proudfoot said. "Habitaters are constantly getting comments that they get a free house. That's not the case."
A dedication ceremony for the house begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10 at 407 S. Tonto St. Shuttle service, beginning at 1:15 p.m., will provide transportation from the First Southern Baptist Church parking lot located at Colcord and Bonita streets. Refreshments are provided.
PAHH will also observe the English version of housewarming -- called "pounding," and although not a requirement, visitors are asked to bring a gift for the new home, preferably nonperishable items.
Wayne Donnay, public information officer of PAHH, said the organization desperately needs volunteers.
For more information or to volunteer your time, contact PAHH at (928) 474-0330 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.