Dixon Habitat breaks ground on 18th house
DIXON – Sisters Whitney and Hallie Williamson no longer will have to share a bedroom.
The girls and their mother, Shanda Williamson, are the next Dixon Habitat for Humanity family. That means they are buying a home they will help build, at cost and with a no-interest mortgage.
When the family moves into the three-bedroom house, they will have about 1,100 square feet, more than they have now in the small two-bedroom they rent just two blocks away, Shanda Williamson said.
Given the sisters' age difference, that's a good thing, she said. Whitney is 12 and Hallie is 5.
"Hallie has the little kid toys, and Whitney has the 12-year-old stuff," she said. "It's hard to mesh it together."
Habitat broke ground on the house Saturday at the site that will be 227 Cropsey Ave. This is the 18th home the local branch has built since it was established in 1993.
Whitney is "so excited" to have her own room, she said, while Hallie is trying to decide whether she wants purple or pink walls. She likes a zebra pattern, so she might get both.
Williamson, 33, said she has been renting "so many years" and she looks at buying a home as "such an opportunity."
Williamson applied for the program 3 years in a row. She and the girls will have to provide 200 hours of "sweat equity" helping build the house, which is expected to be done by Thanksgiving. Williamson's parents, siblings, aunts and uncles will be helping, too, she said.
She will use the experience to teach her daughters the importance of a good work ethic, Williamson said.
"In a way, it's more that building a house. It's a way to show my girls what they can accomplish with hard work."
Williamson works full-time in the office at Northern Grain Marketting LLC and part-time at Casey's General Store in Dixon.
Her mom, Donna Pyse, said she's "thrilled to death" that her daughter will own a home.
"She's worked very hard and she deserves it," Pyse said.
Christyne Gehlbach is president of the board of the Dixon nonprofit.
Williamson's enthusiasm about building the house was one reason she was chosen, Gehlbach said.
"She's been a wonderful partner so far and we've barely started, so we look forward to the process."
To learn more
Go to www.habitat.org or call 815-288-2501 to get involved with or apply for a Dixon Habitat for Humanity home.
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