The year was 1999 and Debbie Werner-Cayou was a single parent living in a small apartment in Delta. She was working fulltime and raising two children. A home of her own seemed a distant goal until her friend, Cheryl Hartter called to tell her about an advertisement she had seen in the DCI.
Habitat for Humanity of Delta County was taking applications from local families who were in need of a home. The goal was to identify a family in need of housing then have the prospective homeowner work with volunteers and supporters to build a new home. The new homeowner would be required to invest labor and a down payment and had to agree to make mortgage and insurance payments.
Debbie remembers thinking, "They aren't going to pick me -- not for a brand new house."
But her friend was insistent so Debbie applied and she was selected.
After working alongside Habitat volunteers she and son Tyler and daughter Chrystal moved in on Aug. 28, 1999. She proudly displays the plaque she received that day. It reads: "May this home be blessed with the laughter of children, the warmth of close family, hope for the future, and fond memories of the past."
And last Wednesday, in a ceremony at RJ's Restaurant in Cedaredge, Debbie was honored for her persistence and faithfulness in fulfilling her part of the Habitat bargain. After 19 years she has accomplished every homeowner's dream: this year she paid off her mortgage.
"This house has been a tremendous blessing to me and my family," she smiled.
The Delta County organization is part of Habitat for Humanity International. The organization has been active in Delta County for 19 years. According to its website, Habitat is "a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization. We are dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action."
Perry Holz, owner and broker of Cedaredge Land Company, has been active with the Delta County Habitat of Humanity since the group's inception in 1994. Holz emphasizes that the work of Habitat is "a hand up not a hand out." He says helping families obtain housing "creates pride of ownership and a stable place to raise a family" which helps not only the family but also the community.
Habitat works with families and volunteers regardless of race or religion and they are in the process of taking applications from Delta County families who are in need of an adequate, affordable home. An informational meeting for interested applicants will be held on Saturday, May 26, at 10 a.m. at the Delta County Board of Realtors office, 724 Main Street in Delta. See the ad on page A10 of this week's issue for additional information. A copy of the application announcement can be obtained by visiting the organization's Facebook page: Habitat for Humanity of Delta County, Colorado.
For further information or to donate to Habitat email firstname.lastname@example.org.