Habitat for Humanity builds 70th home in Champaign County, kicks off National Women Build Week

Urbana -- An Urbana woman will make the move from public housing to a house all her own.

For years, Diane Sexton did not have a place where she could put down roots.

"It wasn't a bad place, but it wasn't mine," said Sexton. "And I've always wanted to own my own home."

Now, she gets to decide all the details.

"I could choose my floors, the walls, the colors, fixtures, the color of my house, siding," said Sexton.

Over 60 volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and their partners at Lowe's helped put the finishing touches on those details Saturday. By the end of the month, Sexton and her daughter will have a new Habitat home in Urbana, after a two-year house hunt that included an application, an approval, and hundreds of hours spent getting her own hands dirty.

"Habitat carries the mortgage, it's a zero percent mortgage," said Sheila Dodd, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County. "And then instead of Diane bringing a down-payment as she would if she were going through a normal banking process, she does 250 hours of sweat equity."

"I had to help build on my site," said Sexton.

But she did not have to do it alone. Dozens of ladies wrapped up work on Sexton's house, while kicking off National Women Build Week. Some were even Habitat hopefuls paying off their own "sweat equity."

"It's always been a dream of mine to have my own home," said Tiana Harris, a future Habitat homeowner. "And what better way to give back than to help someone else with their dream."

Harris will have her dream fulfilled when Habitat builds her new home later this summer, along with 10 other new houses throughout Champaign County this year. Sexton is thankful hers is one of them

"Everybody who stuck with me through all of this, they made it happen," said Sexton.
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