A decade ago, Angeline Martin was living in Brooklyn, N.Y., and working for a health insurance company. She worked a lot of hours to support her daughter, but together, they managed.
That all came to a screeching halt in 2006, when Martin suffered a stroke because of complications from surgery. Unable to work during her long recovery, she had to rely on $1,400 in monthly disability payments to get by. Her doctor told her she needed to spend 95 percent of her time resting, so in 2008, Martin and her daughter came to Clayton seeking a “slower lifestyle.”
In Johnston County, they dreamed of owning a home, but with little income, that dream seemed impossible.
“Torture” is how Martin described it.
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But the torture ended yesterday, when Martin and her daughter, Teona Martin-Yates, were received the keys to their new home at 308 S. Brevard St. in Selma. Built by Habitat for Humanity of Johnston County, the home is the first Martin, 47, will own.
A team of volunteers, including students from Campbell University and Johnston Community College, built the Martins’ 1,261-square-foot house over the course of about a year. It’s Habitat’s 21st house in 23 years in Johnston County.
“We are very, very excited to have Angeline become our next homeowner,” said Brenda Porter-Rockwell, public relations chair for Habitat for Humanity of Johnston County.
Becoming a homeowner through Habitat takes more than an application, Porter-Rockwell said. Families have to contribute 300 hours of labor on their home. Also, they are also responsible for the monthly mortgage payment, which goes to build other Habitat homes in Johnston County. Martin’s house costs about $75,000 for the building and land.
Habitat asks families receiving aid to take financial-planning courses to help them build credit and save money. “We want our homeowners to be very prepared for the big task of home-ownership,” Porter-Rockwell said.
Martin enlisted friends and members of her church to help her complete the 300 hours of labor. She said her church family at Interstate Ministries near Clayton has been incredibly loving and supportive throughout the process.
Habitat for Humanity seeks to help people whose cost of housing far outweighs what is affordable for them. The group chose to help Martin because she uses a cane to walk, and the apartment she was renting wasn’t handicap-accessible, Porter-Rockwell said.
“Some days, it’s harder than others (to walk with a cane),” Porter-Rockwell said. “She would have to walk up the stairs whether or not she was steady.” The Selma house has a ramp.
In addition to owning a home, Martin has something else to be proud of – 17-year-old Teona, who is an honor student at Clayton High School. This summer, Teona, who dreams of becoming a judge, attended a program for young lawyers at Stanford University in California. The high school senior is applying to schools such as Harvard University, Columbia University and Duke University, her mother said.
All the while, she has stood by her mother’s side.
“She’s been my personal assistant, my caregiver, since I had my stroke,” Martin said.
Martin said she is grateful for the help Habitat has given her, from putting a roof over her head to help with financial planning.
“If it’s your dream to become a homeowner, as it was mine, they keep you on point,” she said. “They teach you good life skills. They helped me to further stay on the track that I was on. My credit wasn’t the best, but I worked on it. Now I’m doing very well.”