Monday, June 24, 2002

Owning home 'a dream come true' for one family

By Erica Solvig,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Like many first-time homeowners, Shawn Jones is looking forward to everything about his new house in Hyde Park.

        “I'm looking forward to doing my first load of laundry and not having to fight for a dryer at the laundromat,” said the 36-year-old single father of two.

        It will take about 150 volunteers to build Mr. Jones' house by Thanksgiving. His is one of 17 homes being constructed in southern Hamilton County this year through the Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity.

   Call 621-4147, or visit

    Habitat for Humanity volunteers are expected to give at least one eight-hour day to help on anything from hammering to plumbing. Leaders to help with planning work also are wanted.

        The house, located at 2009 Freeland Ave., was dedicated Sunday. Its foundation was laid about a week ago, and the walls of the first floor have started to be put in place.

        The two-story home will have three bedrooms, one-and-a-half bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and full basement.

        “Me and my boys, we just couldn't believe it,” Mr. Jones said. “They're excited about their own bedrooms.”

        The Jones family has lived in a two-bedroom apartment in the West End for about eight years. The tiny apartment has a mice problem, and 13-year-old Rashawn and 10-year-old Shantel have seen drive-by shootings in the neighborhood.

        Mr. Jones said he had tried to buy a house by working full-time and attending University of Cincinnati at night. But there was little savings, and he did not think home ownership was possible.

        Then along came Aveda Fredric's, a salon and spa company based in Fairfield. The company is one of the first in the beauty industry to sponsor a Habitat house, said John Cerniglia, executive director of Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity.

        Besides the $54,000 investment, Fredric's is supplying volunteers. Mr. Jones also has to put in at least 500 hours at the home, as “sweat equity” is a Habitat requirement.

        “This is just one small step that we hope will expand,” said Frederic Holzberger, Fredric's president and CEO.

        Mr. Jones said the Fredric's team helped him by choosing the home's color scheme. The house will have yellow siding with black trim, and for the inside, they chose grayish-beige carpet and coordinating tile.

        Mr. Jones applied last year for the house, and found out he qualified in March. Only about one in eight families who apply get a house, and most fit in the $17,000-$20,000 income bracket, Mr. Cerniglia said.

        He must repay the home's interest-free loan within 20 years, paying $350 a month. The house is appraised at about $80,000, Mr. Cerniglia said.

        “I love it,” Mr. Jones said as the second wall of his house was lifted into place Sunday. “It's like a dream come true. I always wanted to be a homeowner, I just never thought I could own one. I'm really going to enjoy it.”


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