New home commemorated by Habitat for Humanity

WHEELING — A Wheeling woman was able to realize her dream of having a new home Thursday morning, as volunteers held an official Blessing of the Home on South Broadway Street.

For the last three years, Michelle Poole has been working with Habitat for Humanity to construct a home on Wheeling Island. To earn the right to occupy the home, she paid what the volunteers call “sweat equity.”

“Words cannot describe what this means to me — the hard work, the dedication, the volunteers, the community coming together,” Poole said Thursday. “It started with just an empty lot, with grass. One stage at a time, piece by piece, kind of like building with Legos, and they were there from the very beginning.

“I learned that patience is a virtue, and it was a lot of fun seeing it grow from an empty lot to what it is today,” she said.

Pastor Myron Jellison, with the Vineyard Church, was on hand to offer a blessing of the house. He thanked God for being with the volunteers through the process and asked for the protection of the house and its residents.

Poole now resides in the home with her “girls,” Alonna, Amari and Devyn. Her mother, Evelinn Davis, was on hand for the blessing. The family moved in on Christmas Eve, receiving an early Christmas present before the official dedication of the home.

Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity worked to build the house from the ground up. The organization also provided Poole with a no-interest mortgage on the property to be paid off.

“It’s interest free, but if someone’s not able to get a loan anywhere else, they can get it here,” said Brenda Steiniger, executive director for Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity.

“We partnered with Michelle to help her have her own home,” Ron Witt, vice president of the organization’s board, said. “We rallied up our volunteers. She had to work with us — we called it ‘sweat equity’ — so we’re helping her get her own home, and she reimburses us with a no-interest, no-profit mortgage.”

“It’s completion — it’s warm, it’s cozy, and now that it’s blessed, it’s perfect,” Poole added.

Habitat for Humanity uses a family selection committee to identify families in need of assistance, once applications are submitted. Steiniger said the three Poole children had to share a room before they were able to move in to the new house.

“Michelle has stated she always wanted to be a homeowner but couldn’t do it on her own. That is where Habitat came into play,” she said.