The three families still have a way to go until they reach home ownership.
But the dream got closer as they stood on top of a hill Monday evening, pitching dirt on empty lots that will soon feature modest but sturdy homes in Habitat for Humanity’s Copper Glen subdivision.
Speaking after a groundbreaking ceremony, Joe Byrd thanked God as he talked about his own difficult financial circumstances — a cancer diagnosis in 2014 — that led his family to getting involved with Habitat.
“I couldn’t work for two years,” he said, adding he had spent six months in hospital stays.
Byrd was at the ceremony with his wife, Holly, and their children, Morgen, Ethen and Dylen.
Caleb Last, with 5-year-old twins Ava and Lili, will be moving into one of the cul-de-sac homes after a long process that began with his mother encouraging him to try Habitat for Humanity as a way to get a home.
And Meoshea Columbus said she is longing to leave her Gainesville apartment with children Julius and Kennedy. She was inspired to try Habitat after someone she knew went through the process.
“I can ride my bike down this street. I can play basketball,” Julius said, his eyes looking down Tall Pine Way, the main street cutting through the wooded subdivision in southeast Hall.
The families were the special guests in what was the latest in a series of groundbreaking ceremonies that have marked the life of Copper Glen, which is off Baker Road and near Candler Road/Ga. 60. These three latest homes will bring the 21-lot subdivision to eight houses, as a fifth is about to be completed as work begins on the trio of homes.
“These people here are the heart of Habitat,” said Tim Williams, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Hall County, speaking to a crowd of supporters. “This is why we do it.”
Turning to the families, Williams asked, “Does anybody have anything to say?”
“Thank you,” Columbus said.
The three homes were sponsored in part by proceeds from the 25th Medical Center Open Golf Tournament, an event held by Medical Center Foundation, which supports Northeast Georgia Medical Center campuses in Gainesville and Braselton.
The Medical Center Open was held Oct. 6 at Chicopee Woods Golf Course with a fundraising goal of $200,000.
The event ended up raising more than $280,000.
Securing a home in Copper Glen is no easy feat, and the process often takes several years, officials have said.
Prospective homeowners have a stringent application, plus they must meet income guidelines and show they can make mortgage payments.
Also, they must complete “sweat equity” hours, helping to build other homes. Plus, they must attend Habitat activities and financial and homeownership classes.
“Habitat for Humanity supports the hard-working, low-income backbone of our labor force through partnership in housing,” states a press release from the organization announcing Monday’s event.
“Recognizing the fundamental, basic need of simple, decent, affordable housing and the correlation that has to not only successful families, but also to healthy communities, Habitat changes the trajectory of each family it touches through homeownership.”