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Thankful for our history at Vermont Village on Gidney Street Ground Breaking at Vermont Village 2019

Updated: May 16

A 29-year-old single mother looks forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when she and her daughter will have a home of their own in Shelby.

Erika Clemmons and her daughter, Kamana, currently live in an apartment with Erika’s mother. But with help from Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland County, Clemmons will soon own her own house.

“This will be a new adventure for us,” Clemmons said. ”(Kamana) is very excited about her own room and having a playroom and having outdoor play. Where we live, in an apartment, we don’t have a lot of space to play and ride bikes.”

The new home is one of five that will be built in Habitat for Humanity’s Vermont Village, a new venture in Shelby on Vermont Street.

Clemmons keeps busy as a single mother, a full-time student in Cleveland Community College’s nursing program, and through work at two part-time jobs.

Like all Habitat for Humanity homeowners, Clemmons will put in 200 hours of sweat equity toward her home and other Habitat homes. She is also taking financial classes and plans to volunteer in the Habitat ReStore.

“I just want to show my daughter, as a single mother, you can do it,” Clemmons said. “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I want to show that for all the single mothers out there.”

Most of the land was purchased by Habitat for Humanity Cleveland County last year. The city of Shelby installed water and sewer lines to the property earlier this year and will donate a parcel of land for the fifth home.

Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland County Executive Director Burney Drake said the new project will meet a need in the community for affordable housing.

“It’s exciting for our board and it’s exciting for our community,” Drake said. “We just try to make a difference in the families’ lives. This is life changing.”

Habitat is in the process of selecting its second homeowner at the Vermont Village. Officials with the organization hope to complete the first two homes in 2019.

The plan is to build and complete two more homes in 2020 and finish with the final home in 2021.

Habitat was initially only going to build two homes with septic tanks on the property, but Habitat contractor Will Rucker suggested doing more.

“We were going to build two houses and then Will said, ‘Why don’t we think big?’” Drake said.

The idea sparked a partnership with the city of Shelby for the water and sewer necessary to build several homes.

Other partners on the project include Cleveland County Community Foundation, Dover Foundation, SECU Foundation, Celanese Foundation and the Paul and Margaret Porter Foundation.

Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteers to help build their homes, which allows them to sell to homeowners at affordable rates.

For Clemmons, the help from Habitat for Humanity has been a life-changing experience.

“I’m very nervous, but I’m very excited,” she said. “There’s a lot of new challenges I’ll be faced with, but I’m ready for them. I feel like God has moved me in this direction for a reason.”

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