Another home is on the way at the Habitat for Humanity subdivision in East Hall, this time with the involvement of a business that has specialized in homes of all types for 90 years.
The Norton Agency real estate firm in Gainesville broke ground Tuesday, July 10, on a home in the Copper Glen community off Baker Road, as a way to mark the firm’s 90th year in business.
“Part of our legacy has been helping people find homes, providing security and shelter for thousands of people in North Georgia,” Norton Chairman and CEO Frank Norton Jr. told a group gathered in a cul-de-sac on Tall Pine Way.
Norton will have “build days” as part of the construction effort, he said.
“It’s a way of us giving back to the community that has helped us be where we are today,” Norton said.
The new homeowner is Yolanda Graham of Gainesville. Graham, a paraprofessional at Centennial Arts Academy, will live in the new home with 5-year-old son Daelyn and 10-year-old daughter K’mari.
Graham, living with her parents now, is thrilled about a new home.
“They say (it will be completed) in about six months at least, but probably more,” depending on weather and other factors, she said.
Graham said she became interested in Habitat after seeing some signs about the program.
“They help you get a home — a safe environment with your kids — and it’s affordable,” she said.
Graham said she started the process a couple of years ago.
Steps to getting a home under the program, run locally by the Habitat for Humanity of Hall County, are rigorous.
Applicants must meet income guidelines, show they can make mortgage payments and complete financial education courses. Plus, they must fulfill 260 hours of “sweat equity,” or actual labor on the home, per adult, and 100 hours per adult child over 18 years of age.
Graham and her son took pictures with Norton Agency staff members, with Daelyn presenting a birthday cake to Frank K. Norton Sr., the agency’s board chairman emeritus, who turned 90 on Tuesday. His father started the agency in 1928.
Norton Sr. thanked Daelyn and his mother, and he spoke briefly after a rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” sung by the crowd.
“Life is good, and thanks for everyone here,” the elder Norton said. “The Norton Agency is doing a wonderful thing today, and I thank everybody who participated.”