By Josh Whitener
When Tanisha Logan was approved for housing by Habitat for Humanity of Matthews, she knew owning her first home would be a milestone in her own life. What she didn’t know is building her home also would be a milestone for Habitat Matthews.
Logan and her three teenage children will live in the nonprofit’s 100th home.
Habitat Matthews, which launched in 1989, will host a special dedication ceremony for Logan’s house, located in the Crestdale community at 105 George Clay Lane, on Aug. 3, a Saturday, at 10 a.m. Logan will receive the keys to the house and become an official homeowner at the celebration.
“It really is a milestone for us because we served 100 families,” said Dawn Folmar, director of development and volunteers for Habitat Matthews. “In a small town, to get up to 100 houses is a really big feat, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Logan, a native of Asheville, moved to the Charlotte area more than a decade ago, but she was never able to purchase her own home. After 11 years of working at Home Depot and being unable to afford a house, the single mother turned to Habitat Matthews for help. She applied for Habitat housing but was initially denied. After spending a year working to raise her credit score, Logan reapplied and was approved.
Before she could become a Habitat homeowner, Logan had to provide 400 hours of “sweat equity” – something required of all Habitat homeowners. Of the 400 hours, 200 were dedicated to building her own home, and the other 200 hours were spent working on another Habitat house.
But Logan didn’t work alone.
Her 17- and 18-year-old sons and 15-year-old daughter pitched in, and St. Matthew Catholic Church provided the majority of the volunteers who helped build the house. The church served as the home’s sponsor, organizing an itinerary on workdays, providing lunch every Saturday and contributing a dozen or more volunteers each week.
“It was just crazy to me, to see these people who don’t know me, who are not certified contractors, but they come out there and work unbelievably,” Logan said. “They put so much into what they were doing. They were not people I’d ever met before, but they just did a beautiful job.”
Other than the electrical and plumbing work, cabinets and foundation, Logan and the rest of the volunteers built the entire three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. They poured concrete, built walls, installed drywall, painted, laid bricks and flooring and attached shingles to the roof.
Weather wasn’t a problem until recently during yard landscaping, Logan said. Volunteers were working at the site even during a fluke snow in March, she said.
“We did it all,” Logan said. “Once (the house) started going up, we were blessed with good weather and stayed right on target. Weather was not a factor (except) with the landscaping.”
The hardest part was putting in work hours on Saturdays, Logan said. Because she’s often working at Home Depot on Saturdays, Logan would sometimes show up at the construction site at 8 a.m. and work on her house until 1 p.m. Then she’d go home, shower and head to work at Home Depot for a 2:30 to 11 p.m. shift.
“The hardest part was having to work and get the hours situated,” Logan said. “But my job really worked with me, so it was easier to get that done.”
Logan says she’s especially eager to be part of the Matthews community. She’s excited about exchanging the hustle and bustle of Charlotte – where she currently lives – for the small-town feel of Matthews, she said. And she’s thrilled her 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter will attend Butler High School.
“My younger son will get to graduate (from Butler) and my daughter will get three years at that school,” Logan said. “It’s better for them education wise. We just got blessed all the way around.”
She’s also coming out on top financially. Her house payment will be half of what she pays now in rent.
Logan said the most important thing she’s taking from her experience with Habitat Matthews is what the organization does for the community. And she’s encouraging everyone she knows to get involved somehow.
“It’s something everybody should experience, helping (Habitat Matthews),” Logan said. “If you don’t have the money to (contribute), you just volunteer a couple hours.”
Logan is eager to receive the keys to her home and plans to take two weeks of vacation time, starting the weekend of Aug. 3, to move and settle into her new home.
“As quick as they give me the keys is as quick as I want to move in,” she said.