Fire victims get new home through Habitat for Humanity
Ebony Hawkins-Pearson never dreamed that less than a year after a fire destroyed her Duquesne home, she once again would have a place of her own for herself and her two daughters.
On Saturday, in a brief ceremony filled with tears of joy and prayer, Hawkins-Pearson clutched the keys to her new house, provided by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.
“I feel like the heavens have opened up for me,” Hawkins-Pearson said as family and friends toured her new Corey Avenue, Braddock, home. “This is the best Mother's Day present from God.”
Hawkins-Pearson and her two daughters, Destiny, 17, and Trinity, 10, were left homeless on May 25, 2012, when fire leveled their uninsured home and destroyed their belongings.
Hawkins-Pearson, 40, thanked her family for housing and supporting her and her children, encouraging her to stay strong while the family rebuilt their lives. As part of eligibility for the house, Hawkins-Pearson had to put in 350 hours of “sweat equity,” working on other Habitat homes. She now has a 30-year, interest-free mortgage that will cost less than $500 a month. Habitat uses mortgage payments from other Habitat families to help fund home projects.
“Habitat for Humanity taught me how to be patient,” Hawkins-Pearson said, adding that she juggled work and her volunteer efforts to fulfill eligibility requirements.
Her father, Brent Robertson, a deacon at Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport, said he went to Haiti in March to help build homes there.
“I had no idea that six weeks later, I would be here with my daughter” as she celebrated the first day in her new home, Robertson said.
A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony included students from Ellis School, an all-girls day school in Shadyside, offering Hawkins-Pearson flowers in brightly painted pots with messages, including “Welcome home.”
“There are no volunteers, they've all gone home,” said Daniel Webb, family services coordinator for Habitat. “The hammers have been hung up. It's now up to you to make this house a home.”
Since 1986, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh has built or renovated more than 80 homes, according to executive director Maggie I. Withrow.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 3-alarm fire burns Hill District row homes
- New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers
- Black Pittsburghers still challenged in education, workforce, housing
- Pittsburgh police chief: Officers, public must unite against violence
- Email scam hooks Carnegie Mellon University employees
- Port Authority focusing on natural-gas bus fleet for proposed rapid transit line
- McCandless mortgage broker company president charged with bank fraud conspiracy
- Officials investigating fatal Shaler house fire, working to identify body found in rubble
- Pittsburgh councilwoman Rudiak announces bid for city controller
- Southwest announces daily nonstop flight between Pittsburgh, Dallas Love Field
- PennDOT to replace drivers licenses issued since November without proper security features