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Expectant mother expecting Habitat house

By Joanie Morris
Salisbury Post
KANNAPOLIS ó When Amelia Chatman goes to work on her Habitat for Humanity homesite, it might seem like she’s working for two.
That’s because she is. Chatman is 4 1/2 months pregnant.
While it may seem strange to some to see a pregnant woman pouring what Habitat calls “sweat equity” into a home, the organization in Cabarrus has built 108 houses serving more than 250 people since 1989, and some have been for clients who were with child.
“It is not unprecedented for us to have an expectant family partner,” said Dana Richardson, assistant director of Habitat for Humanity Cabarrus County.
Habitat doesn’t let obstacles stand in the way of a new home. Some clients have physical ailments or disabilities.
Richardson said the agency meets clients “where they are, regardless of physical condition.”
In the case of an expectant mother, she said, “we will be mindful of safety. Amelia is lovely and a pleasure to work with.”
Besides that, Chatman knows her way around a Habitat site. She’s worked with the organization in the past on homes for other clients. And she’s already accumulated more than 100 hours of sweat equity ó the 250 hours of work each client does in exchange for the Christian non-profit’s construction help and an interest-free mortgage.
She helped build her sister’s house in South Bend, Ind. In fact, Chatman’s sister convinced her she should look into becoming a Habitat for Humanity homeowner in North Carolina.
“She kept telling me, ‘You should apply,’ ” recalled Chapman, who works as a help desk agent at Connextions Inc. in Concord. She submitted her application in September 2007.
The pieces fit. She was a single mom with two children ó 7-year-old daughter Ariel and 1-year-old son Isaiah ó and she was renting.
When Habitat for Humanity called her Jan. 15, Chatman had almost forgotten about applying. Agency representatives told her they would like a home visit with the Chatman family.
“I’ll never forget it,” Chatman said. The call came four days before her Jan. 19 birthday. And two days before her birthday, just two days after the home visit, Chatman got another call. “She called me up two days later to tell me I had gotten accepted.
“I just screamed and screamed and screamed,” Chatman recalled. She was returning the call at work and was shocked. “I just started crying.”
Corporate partners on the home include the Kannapolis Intimidators, Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports Inc., the city of Kannapolis, the Chicago White Sox Charities, U.S. Lawns and Sam Miller Carpet.
“It is truly an honor to be a part of this project that will ultimately make such a positive impact on Amelia and her family’s life,” Tim Mueller, vice president of the Kannapolis Intimidators, said in a press release.
The Home Run Home, as Chatman’s house is called, is being built at 2601 Glendale Ave. and is scheduled for completion in August.
A Habitat home is built over 12 weeks, with volunteers doing various tasks ranging from framing and roofing to painting and landscaping. The sponsoring organizations for the Home Run Home have divided up the tasks and began the home’s framing earlier this month. A dedication is tentatively set for Aug. 31.
But even such a pace gives Chatman a little time to take a break and express her thanks.
“God is just so good,” she said at the work site recently. “It is just a true blessing. I’m very excited to know I will have a home.”
In addition to looking forward to settling in at her own place, Chatman said she likes doing the work here and at other Habitat job sites. “I like being able to come out and help others.”
On a recent Saturday, about 30 people came out to Glendale Avenue to help Chatman frame her home. Some were members of Habitat partner families eager to get in a portion of their sweat equity hours and help out another family. Others just volunteered to help.
Thomas Zaccheo, a retired member of the New York Transit Authority who moved to Cabarrus County last year, said he started working with Habitat for Humanity that day.
“I stopped in yesterday and said, ‘It’s time to get involved,’ ” the 56-year-old Zaccheo said. “It’s nice to see people like this getting together.”
Site supervisor and Habitat staff member Bob Lamarche said the home will be 1,145 square feet and will have two bathrooms and three bedrooms.
“This is a real nice place,” Lamarche said. He will work at the site daily, Tuesday through Saturday. In addition to volunteers on the weekend, Lamarche said other volunteers who come in during the week ó mostly corporate partners, business volunteers and retired citizens ó to help on the home. Habitat for Humanity plans to build 10 homes in Cabarrus County this year.
Chatman called the Habitat staff members and volunteers “very friendly and caring,” and her soon-to-be new home “a dream come true.”
“It will be … something I can call my own,” Chatman added.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity Cabarrus County, log on to the agency’s Web site at ww.habitatcabarrus.org.
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or jmorris@salisburypost.com.

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