More than 30 members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church celebrated a new beginning for members, Kual and Adut Ayai, breaking ground on the site of their new Habitat for Humanity home. The home is sponsored, in part, by contributors of the Help Build It-Southside Campaign along with longtime Habitat supporters, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the George R. Johnson Family Foundation. It’s the 249th home being built by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area.
“St. Paul's Episcopal Church is truly blessed to have the Ayai family in our congregation and we consider it an honor to help them achieve home ownership,” said Rev. Ann Weeks, deacon for Outreach at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. “Kual Ayai says it best, "Owning a home is a testament of his standing as an American citizen. When you have a house you consider yourself to be a citizen, and not a foreigner.'"
Kual and Adut Ayai moved to the Scenic City from South Sudan in 2010. In a matter of three years, the Ayai’s established a foundation for their family by joining St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and enrolling in Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program.
“Families who enroll in Habitat’s program are required to complete a minimum of 350 sweat equity hours before they can purchase a Habitat home,” said Cheryl Marsh, Habitat’s director of Family Services. “Traditionally, it takes up to 12 months for most working families to complete their hours. But in Mr. Ayai’s case, he secured more than 200 hours in two months and is well on his way to becoming a first-time homeowner.”
In an effort to expedite the homeownership process, Mr. Ayai has denied himself rest to work two eight-hour shifts at his job at Pilgrim Pride and log 30 weekly volunteer hours at Habitat over the past two months. Mr. Ayai understands that he will see the fruits of his labor and will be able to rest well once the construction of his family’s home is completed in late May.
To learn about Habitat’s Homeownership Program, visit www.habitchatt.org or call 756-0507.
From left, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga's Director of Construction amd Land Development, Dennis Neal, with the Ayai family.