Joseph Paul, his wife and three children were previously living in the home of a friend.
Joseph and Rose Paul, who emigrated from Haiti to the United States in 2007, can barely speak English. Since coming to the U.S., the Pauls haven’t had a home of their own. For the past several months, Joseph, Rose and their three children have lived in the cramped house of a friend.
But on the morning of Saturday, May 12 — despite the language barrier — Joseph Paul tried to explain the gratitude he felt when he and his wife watched the community construct their new home.
“I’m just so happy,” he said.
The Pauls were selected by the Flagler Habitat for Humanity for a new home. Construction took place at Pine Hurst Lane in Palm Coast and, in conjunction with National Women Build Week, was attended by Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland, Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson, several Lowe’s volunteers, women volunteers and Habitat for Humanity homeowners.
“It’s an exciting day to be a part of such a strong group of women,” said Holland, who also gave proclamation on-site on Saturday. It was her second time being a part of a build.
“It’s inspiring,” she said. “We were able to build a home for a resident in need, and I’m glad that I was able to have a little piece in that.”
The house has three bedrooms, two baths and 1,250 square feet.
To be considered for a house, those interested must first apply at Flagler Habitat’s office, located at 5 Hargrove Grade in Palm Coast. The selection committee will then screen the applicant to see if he or she qualifies. From there, the board of directors will choose who is deserving of a home.
To qualify, the selection committee looks at the applicant’s need for housing.
“Obviously, the Pauls were in an overcrowded situation, so that would constitute a need,” said Lynn Howard, a Flagler Habitat staff liaison for home selection. “Then we look at their ability to pay a mortgage. We look at their finances and make sure that they’re able to handle a Habitat mortgage. The last thing we look at is their willingness to partner with us and do their sweat after the hours.”
Throughout Saturday, Holland was busy helping other volunteers nail in long wooden boards along the exterior of the home.
“It’s also nice to learn how a house is actually constructed,” she said. “I’m getting better with each nail that goes in.”