Sweat Equity Pays Off For Habitat For Humanity's Newest Tulsa Homeowner

Saturday, March 15th 2014, 8:52 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa chapter of Habitat for Humanity reached a major milestone on Saturday.

The walls were raised on home no. 300.

It's simple enough -- raise a wall and support a new homeowner.

All that work just for Brandi Ellison and her daughter.

"I'm just grateful," Ellison said. "I'm thankful to have the opportunity to be able to be a homeowner with Habitat."

Ellison said she was tired moving around and paying rent.

Habitat for Humanity, she says, brings stability and opens a new chapter in her life.

"It means a lot to show my daughter this is what you do in life," she said. "You work and get you a home and just work hard, so this is our home."

Habitat for Humanity has been helping people in Tulsa since 1988.

It started as just doing repair work on already existing homes but moved to building new homes.

"For the Tulsa community, it means neighborhoods are improving because home ownership improves neighborhoods and the community is improving and, you know what, they're paying property taxes and so that always helps the city and county of Tulsa as well," Habitat's Jane Dunbar said.

Becoming a Habitat homeowner is no walk in the park.

Ellison has to go through nearly 350 hours of sweat equity, that includes a money management course, working in Habitat's workshop building doors and windows, and at least 50 hours working on her own home.

"The point of that is, we believe in personal responsibility," Dunbar said. "Tulsa Habitat believes in giving a hand up not a hand out. We want people to have an opportunity and that's what we give them."

Ellison can't wait to put a swing set in the backyard and get her hands dirty planting a garden.

She calls the home a dream come true, and says she's forever grateful to Habitat for Humanity and the hard-working volunteers.

"My heart goes out to them. They're awesome," she said. "Without them...this wouldn't be happening right now without them. Just for them to be selfless and work hard for someone else is amazing."

The goal is to have this home ready for Ellison and her daughter to move in about 10-12 weeks.

And Habitat for Humanity in Tulsa has already started working on home no. 301.