Building a future of hope


By Jessica Groover
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Concord resident Paula Espinal came one step closer to living in her dream home on Saturday. Espinal expressed excitement as she watched Habitat for Humanity volunteers install framing at the site of her future home on Sweet Bay Lane in the Magnolia Crossing subdivision.

“It’s something I never imagined having,” Espinal said. 

Espinal and two of her three sons currently live in an old home in Concord with poor insulation, problems in both of her bathrooms and wire hanging from the ceiling.

Last year, Espinal applied to the non-profit program. Not long after, she received a visit from a Habitat committee member to see if she was eligible for a new home.

“The person who made the home visit was appalled at what [Espinal] was having to deal with,” said Shirley Kennerly, family services coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. “She was immediately accepted into the program.”

Once Espinal was approved for the program in April 2008, she began acquiring equity hours, a requirement for receiving a Habitat for Humanity home. 

Each adult per household must complete 250 hours of volunteer work for the organization, as well as 50 hours of classes on topics such as finances, parenting and home repairs.

“The main reason we do all this is we do not want someone to fail,” Kennerly said. “We want them be able to maintain their homes.”

Espinal has already logged more than 400 hours of work, because she visits the Habitat office and helps recruit Hispanic families and translate. Espinal said she will continue to volunteer with the organization after she moves into her house.

“I can never pay to Habitat what Habitat is doing for me,” Espinal said.

About 30 people came out to her future home on Saturday to work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Habitat for Humanity site supervisor, Bob Lamarche, said that on days of framing and putting a roof on a home, more volunteers are necessary.

Approximately eight of the volunteers were future homeowners. Others were staff members and volunteers from the community.

Espinal will move into her new home in April. She is looking forward to having working heat, insulation and two bathrooms.

Espinal will also reap the benefits of having a no-interest mortgage, something that she appreciates in a tough economy, and having more money and time to go back to school to become a teacher’s assistant.

“I never [thought] I could have a new home, so that’s something that’s really great for me,” Espinal said. “It’s like a dream. I tell my kids, ‘Pinch me to see if I’m dreaming.’”

• Contact reporter Jessica Groover, 704-789-9152.

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