MILLEDGEVILLE — Appreciate what you have, and you will go a long way. The words of Joyce Roberson sum up a cornerstone homeowner relationship within the Habitat for Humanity Milledgeville/Baldwin County network.
Murali Thirumal, area Habitat executive director, said the nonprofit group that provides homes to partner families works like no other lender.
Applicants must put in at least 300 sweat equity hours helping Habitat to even be considered. Those lucky enough to be selected make interest free monthly payments on a 20-year note.
Thirumal said communication means everything. Homeowners are treated individually, case by case.
The local Habitat affiliate works with partner families like Roberson's. Thurimal said Roberson gets the ideal homeowner award.
“The worst thing you can do is not communicate. If something is late or early, let us know,” Thirumal said. “This whole program is run on good faith, good prayer and fellowship. If that breaks down, then I think the entire program breaks down.”
Roberson heard about Habitat from a friend shortly after her old home burned down. She had five children at the time, including a foster child, when she applied.
Her newborn son was diagnosed with cancer, forcing back and forth hospital visits by Roberson. The important call from Habitat was a blessing.
“They called me and told me I'd been approved for a home,” Roberson said. “I was the happiest person you could ever see.”
For 12 years, Roberson has maintained payments and kept up a beautiful four-bedroom home on Leo Court. The former certified nursing assistant's home is the gathering place for her four grandchildren.
Some years have been easier than others as far as monthly payments go, but Roberson said Thirumal was visible and open from day one.
“They are always there to work with me, and I really appreciate that,” Roberson said. “The process has been good.”