New Habitat Homeowner: "I had faith"

Midlands woman's dream realized after 18 years

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By Monique Williams

West Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Erica Figueroa has been dreaming of owning her own home for 18 years, since her first child was born. That dream was realized this week with the help of corporate sponsors, Habitat for Humanity and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Erica Figueroa doesn't mind a little trouble unlocking the door to her house. After all, sometimes it's hard getting things that are brand new working properly.

"There were a lot of times I was thinking we will just have to settle for what we had, but I had faith and knew one day it would come," said Figueroa.

The West Columbia mother of five is the latest resident to receive a Habitat for Humanity house. A rigorous Habitat application process and two-year waiting period, she says, is more stressful than people realize.

"A lot of people think [Habitat for Humanity] just gives you a house. No, they give you a hand to help you get your own house. You still have to get the down payment, volunteer on other people's homes, and help."

The help she received came from corporate sponsors and young folks incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. A little over a dozen teen volunteers built the frame of the four bedroom house before it was transported to its current location in Lexington County. It's the second house built by DJJ residents, volunteers and staff members.

In addition to giving youth something constructive to do, pun intended, Executive Director for Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity, Roy Kramer, says such projects have a far reaching impact, beyond bricks and mortar.

"When we first came here there were heavy drug dealers in the streets," said Kramer. "As we've built, we've helped change this."

Erica's is the #13th house to be built on Leica Lane since 2006. She says she's determined to pay it forward, so many more families can have a new place to finally call home.

"It's gonna be great."

Erica and her children plan to do a little bit of painting this weekend and officially move into their brand new $60,000 home on Monday.

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