For years Tomeka McDougald and her two children lived in apartments or mobile homes, but now that is about to change.
In December she was chosen to receive a Habitat for Humanity home and this month she is in the process of moving into it. The renovated three bedroom, one and-a-half bathroom house is located on the 600 block of Goldston Boulevard.
McDougald, 43, has always wanted her own home, but didn’t think she would be get the chance.
But a friend, a past recipient of a Habitat home, encouraged her to apply.
“I applied in September, but I got denied because my debt to income ratio was too high,” she said.
So she worked hard to pay off her debt and get a stronger credit score. She said Kimberly Rau, executive director of Habitat for Humanity for the Sanford area, even sat down with McDougald to help her come up with a plan to get her finances in order.
“She was in debt up to her eyebrows,” she said. “I took a look at all she owed and helped her create a plan,” she said
Rau said that was all McDougald needed.
“She picked up the ball and ran with it,” Rau said. “She did it like in six months. It was amazing. I’m so proud of her.”
“She is now debt free for the most part,” she said. “She consolidated her student loans and that’s the only thing she owes I believe.”
Rau said that once McDougald was chosen for the home she has been involved from start to finish.
“Tomeka is the perfect example of a good Habitat family and Habitat partner,” she said. “She has been involved from day one. She has been there (Habitat house) every weekend working. They (family) have to put in sweat equity. It also allowed us to get to know each other as well and build a relationship.”
McDougald received a lot of help from family and friends during the process of fixing the house and they are all happy with the results.
Here two children have their own room and are proud of what their mother has accomplished.
Her daughter, Robbie Cox,16, said her mother has wanted her own home for a long time.
“She’s been talking about getting her own home since we were little,” she said.
Her father, Nelson Quick, 69, said her daughter was focused on her goal.
“She worked so hard and I’m so proud of her,” he said. “She showed them that she wanted this.”
McDougald said her best friend, Chanetta Hawes, 40, has been a great help as well.
“That’s my besty,” Hawes said. “Whatever she needs I’m here for her. They are like my second family.”
Her son, Rhamod Cox, 15, said he is ready to claim one of the bedrooms as his own.
“I’m excited about the new house and I’m proud of my mother,” he said. “I can’t wait to move in.”
Her home will be dedicated on June 25, but most of the work on the home is complete. Rau said on that day the house will be blessed, the family will be given a Bible.
“I will present them with a photo album that will highlight what was done start to finish,” she said.
As McDougald walks through the house looking at the freshly painted rooms, new kitchen fixtures, appliances and standing on their new back porch, it’s still hard for her to believe the house now belongs to her.
“It feels good especially when you had in your mind that you would never be a homeowner,” she said.