McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Next Habitat for Humanity homeowner named

  • Rebecca Lewis dreamed of owning her own home since she was a child.
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  • Rebecca Lewis dreamed of owning her own home since she was a child.
    Amidst the 71 times she moved from place to place, not counting the times she spent living out of her car, that dream dimmed but never went away. As a child of poverty, though, Lewis was unsure how she could ever make that dream come true.
    “My life was just a mess,” she said. The single mother of three young boys joined Circles of McPherson County and learned, at last, she hadn’t known what she hadn’t known.
    “People think the worst thing about poverty is not having money, and typically, it is,” Lewis said, “But what’s worse is the isolation. There is so much to learn about how middle class people think and what they know that I didn’t. The opposite is true, too: Poor people know things about the system and how to survive that would put middle-class people at a loss.”
    Circles helped Lewis understand what the steps would be in order to qualify for a home loan.
    “I knew I had to have good credit, and I worked hard to get out of debt. I work three jobs,” Lewis said. She works for Circles of McPherson County as the Circles coach, as the coordinator of outreach for McPherson First United Methodist Church, and at Sportsview Restaurant.
    “But even with no other debt, my school loans made it so that I never would have been able to qualify for a regular home loan. A Habitat house was my only opportunity,” she said.
    The process and paperwork to qualify for a McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity home was a long one.
    “I put in the application this year. It lasted all of March and into April,” she said.
    When the call came letting her know that she had been selected for the next Habitat home, “I cried,” Lewis said. “I can’t tell you how different it is, knowing we’re going to actually own a home. The safety and stability it represents is something I’ve always wanted, and something I want for my children as well. The research says that kids growing up in a home helps them to be stable adults, and in turn leads them to be stable parents. It’s the cycle I want to begin for my family.”
    Lewis knows she’s not alone. “Eight or nine months ago, we each did a dream poster in our Circles group. All but one person drew a house. Building your life, putting your investment in something permanent, that’s what I longed for.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Lewis has worked hard for this chance, but she didn’t do it alone.
    “I honestly feel like God is smiling down on us,” she said. “We’ve been in the same [rented] house for two and a half years now, the longest I’ve been anywhere, and we live in a good school district where my sons, Aiden, Jace, and Elijah, get the care and support they need.
    “Circles has been a huge support for me to be able to use the tools to get ready for this new step in my life. A lot of people, we’re poor, we want a home but we’re not ready and don’t even know where to begin. I’m really grateful for the support in planning for my future and the training I received to be ready for this next step.”
    The house will be built at 319 S. Oak St. in McPherson. Preparation work is scheduled to begin soon with the blitz build week slated for late July. As part of her payment, Lewis will schedule 200 hours of sweat equity into the house. If you are interested in helping, contact 620-241-0886 for more information. For more information about Habitat for Humanity, visit www.mcphersonhabitat.org/.
    For more information on Circles of McPherson County, call 620-242-2015.
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