Habitat dedicates 70th house

Habitat dedicates 70th house

Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County will dedicate its 70th house this evening in Urbana, a "Signature Build" project celebrating the chapter's 20th anniversary.

It's a big day for homeowner Diane Sexton, 57, who is living a dream she thought had passed her by.

"This is a chance of a lifetime for me," Sexton said. "I'm so happy and I'm so blessed to have a home that I can call my own."

Here are five things to know about Habitat's newest homeowner:

Sexton grew up in Danville but moved to Champaign-Urbana in 1996 for "a new start." She is a certified nursing assistant at the Bridle Brook Adult Community in Mahomet and has three daughters — two who are grown and living out of the area, and 15-year-old Ta'Darrionia Hite, who attends Urbana High School.

2 To fulfill her commitment to Habitat, Sexton put in the usual 250 hours of "sweat equity" and then some — 200 at Habitat's ReStore and 50-plus hours on the house itself. She painted, installed windows and siding, landscaped, put up cabinets, hung light fixtures. "It felt good to know I had put my hard work into something I'm going to be living in, me and my child."

3 First up on her to-do list: decorating the three-bedroom house. She always wanted to go to school to learn how to be an interior designer, but "it didn't work out that way," she says. For the record, she likes neutrals, so she can change things around without spending a lot of money.

4 She's looking forward to parking her car in the old garage that Habitat was able to restore, instead of on the street. Watering her own lawn. Not renting or having to move. Putting money into something of her own.

5 The best part about being a homeowner: "Being able to do things with my home that I want to do. It's going to be there for me whether I want to change my colors in the house, whether I want to change my carpet, whether I want to get an addition to my home. It's mine. I can do whatever I want."

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