For nearly two years the Roberts family traveled from place to place, never having a space they could call home. All of that changed on Friday, Feb. 21.
Through the efforts of Habitat for Humanity of Hall County, Family Promise and a giant team of donors and volunteers, the family of two adults and four teenagers stepped across the threshold of their new home.
“Our whole life we’ve lived in apartments, stayed at other people’s homes, then we got a trailer that we rented,” 13-year-old Leah Roberts said. “It’s kind of freeing because we finally get our own home and space.”
Over 2,200 volunteer hours were put into building the 1,200-square-foot house, which is one of 13 homes in the Copper Glen Habitat Subdivision in Gainesville.
Like everyone who earns a home with Habitat, the Roberts put hours of manual labor into building their house. Even 16-year-old Katelyn Roberts was able to chip in.
“I helped with the painting and insulation,” Katelyn said. “We’ve worked a lot, but it’s a nice feeling.”
Katelyn’s mother and father, Jeremy and Sandy Roberts, said they would come out and work on the house every weekend. It took nearly six months to complete. The Roberts also took financial education courses to prepare for homeownership.
For the last couple of months of their home’s construction, the Roberts were a part of the Family Promise Homestead program. Sandy Roberts said every week they would sleep at a new church, but live at the Homestead during the day.
“It’s a great program, but it’s not easy,” Sandy Roberts said. “I guess anything that’s worth it, isn’t going to be easy. With us, it’s more than buying a home. We have a piece of ourselves in it.”
Pam Roberts, the teenagers’ grandmother, said she took in the whole family for 15 months in her three-bedroom home. This happened when the Roberts could no longer keep up with the rising cost of their rental home.
“There was a lot of love and tears,” Pam Roberts said. “I’m so proud of them. My husband Jerry worked every Saturday that he could on the house. It was a family effort.”
As members of Habitat and other community supporters revealed the home to the Roberts on Friday, emotions ran high. Jeremy Roberts embraced his daughter Katelyn, as her eyes welled with tears.
“Words cannot convey what this means to me,” Jeremy Roberts said. “It’s a place for our kids to call home. I have immense pride and accomplishment in building this house.”
Alison McElvery, Habitat’s executive director, took the time to thank “the village” that tackled this home project. Some of the supporters included 12 Stone Church, The Jackson EMC Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, Kings Hawaiian, Roofing Resources of Georgia, The Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County and other community partners.
“This is such an amazing day, not only for Habitat, but for the Roberts family,” McElvery said. “We really thank each of you for being here from the bottom of our hearts.”