Aug. 30 finish date in sight for Dallas teacher’s new house
By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — The consensus of the work crew was that Sunday, May 31, was an excellent day to resume construction on kindergarten teacher Nina Williams’ 1,260-square-foot home in Oak Cliff.
Too many recent rains had stalled building days, placing the work crew a bit behind. So, the members of the Dallas Jewish community, partnering with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity under the team title “Building Together 2015,” were very eager to get back to work.
“It’s the perfect day to be out here,” veteran volunteer Jaycee Greenblatt said. “We’re making phenomenal progress. There’s not a cloud in the sky, not too hot, a nice little breeze — especially up on the roof — and after all that rain it feels so good to get out.”
Winn Fuqua, another volunteer who donates his time to Habitat projects, The United Way of Dallas and Temple Emanu-El, said Sunday there were 25 people working at the site at 2631 Custer Drive, including at least 10 Jewish volunteers, some Habitat for Humanity core workers, and some “Habitat University” folks training on-site to learn how to build. All were raring to go.
Nina Williams herself was hard at work. The 31-year-old said she’s really looking forward to moving in to the three-bedroom, two-bath, one-car-garage structure she will share with young Byron.
Williams — who teaches kindergarten at Uplift Williams Preparatory, a charter school in Dallas — said she was, essentially, forced to move from New Orleans to the Dallas area because of Hurricane Katrina. A family member moved here in 2005. She was in college at the time, so she followed and moved to Dallas in 2008.
Her son, Byron Williams, 8, a third-grader, said Sunday he was a little frustrated his young age prevented him from pitching in with the construction.
Byron pointed to the roof of his new home, where workers were placing trusses, structural frameworks of timbers designed to provide support.
“This is cool, but you know what would make it cooler? If I could be helping up there,” Byron said.
Williams, meanwhile, said she looks forward to the zero percent interest mortgage that comes with her new home.
“I have been renting all my life,” she said.
Not having to put down a deposit when buying the house is very helpful to homeowners involved in this process. They put in “sweat equity” by helping build the house, and also take classes on subjects such as credit, budget and home ownership management and domestic violence, said Ryan Bredow, who is chairing this build.
Bredow said Aug. 30 is the finish date for construction.
“As far as volunteers, the rain has slowed them down a lot, but we’re not really that far behind,” he said.
This is the second year the group has worked together to build a home. Because this project is faith-based, the rules are a little different from other Habitat for Humanity-related projects, Bredow explained.
“They didn’t have to put the money up front before we started building on the house,” Bredow said. “We have an extra time frame to raise the money and we are looking to other businesses to help, Right now we have $60,000 of the $80,000 it will take raised.”
Participants in this year’s project so far include Adat Chaverim, Congregation Anshai Torah, Congregation Beth Torah, Congregation Shearith Israel, Guzick, Rubin Kaplan AZA, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Shalom, United Texas Bank and the Funk Family Foundation.
Greenblatt said each of the houses Habitat for Humanity builds each year is pondered by a organization, church or business. The Williams project is sponsored financially with volunteer support from the Dallas Jewish community, she said.
“This is about volunteering and philanthropy and we as a Jewish community coming together,” she said.