June 22, 2013

Building a new home

Rachel Brown

— Sometimes patience pays off.

The home Aisha McCowan watched a group of Wells Fargo volunteers work toward completing Saturday morning was the one she had nearly given up seeing seven years ago. Actually, it was a little more than seven years ago when the now Chatsworth resident filed an application with the Dalton-Whitfield chapter of Habitat for Humanity. At the time, she was staying in a home sponsored by the Housing Authority of Dalton.

McCowan filed the paperwork and later forgot about it. A Habitat committee screens each applicant and makes a selection based on factors such as income and whether the family can contribute the required “sweat equity” hours in which they physically help build the house. Some seven years after McCowan filed the application, a representative called her to say her name resurfaced in talks and she needed to update her paperwork.

By that time, she and her family were living in a rented home in Chatsworth, but McCowan said she’s looking forward to moving into a house she can call her own. Her husband, Isaac, their two children and two nieces will live there.

McCowan said her family is very grateful for all the help and looks forward to moving in.

The house, in a neighborhood off of Ezzard Avenue, is the 50th home the local Habitat chapter has built.

On Saturday, Wells Fargo presented a check for $15,000 to the project. Local Habitat Executive Director Vivian Chance, who is retiring from her position at the end of the month, said most of the houses cost about $55,000. The cost is greatly reduced because of volunteer labor and donations, but the family is given a no-interest loan to pay back the rest.

About seven Wells Fargo volunteers came out to work on the house, which workers anticipate will be complete by September.

The bank employees’ participation was part of Wells Fargo’s Community Service Super Saturday in which nearly 1,000 volunteers and friends assisted with projects across Georgia.

Tim Wallace, Wells Fargo district manager for northwest Georgia, took a break in the sun from the hot and sweaty job of installing insulation under the house. The effort is well worth it, he said, and “a good way to give back to the community.”

Jonathan Jacobs, the bank’s West Walnut Avenue branch manager, said several employees were working and were unable to help on Saturday.