Champions move into Habitat home

Published 10:01 pm Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mandy Champion and her 4-year-old daughter, Kam, slept on the floor of their new house before the furniture was moved in.

Most would not define this as a good night’s sleep. But to Chilton County’s newest Habitat for Humanity family, it was peaceful slumber.

The dream of owning a home almost didn’t happen for the Champions, however.

“I was ecstatic,” Mandy said, recalling when she applied for a Habitat home in 2006. “But as the years went by, I started second guessing.”

Mandy feared she wouldn’t get approved because of her income. But as it turned out, she was eligible to apply for Habitat homeownership. And the need was there.

“All the joists under the house were starting to give way,” she said of their former home in Maplesville.

The home, built in the 1800s, was deteriorating quickly. The floors were made of the original hardwoods used in the house, and they were starting to rot. Where an old furnace once stood, Mandy had covered a gaping hole with plywood, which would also soon need to be replaced.

“[Kam] couldn’t play in the living room,” she said.

Also, the roof leaked. Needless to say, these were expensive repairs she couldn’t afford.

It was Habitat president Jane Conradi who first encouraged Mandy to consider applying with the organization. The two are both members of Clanton First United Methodist Church.

As the local Habitat affiliate struggled to rebound from building two houses in one year, Mandy almost gave up hope of owning a home. But there was a part of her that wouldn’t let her give up, and her name was Kam.

“That’s my inspiration for not giving up. She depends on me,” Mandy said.

She indicated again and again that her biggest reason for applying was to have a good home for her daughter.

Now, Kam has something she hasn’t had before – her own room. She is reportedly hanging things on the wall and pulling the covers up to “make” the bed.

“I’m definitely enjoying the house, but my daughter is enjoying it to its fullest extent,” Mandy said.

She added that she plans to help out with future Habitat projects. She thanks everyone who assisted with the building of her home, whether financially or physically.

“Habitat is a great organization. You learn a lot of different people in the community,” she said.

–Scott Mims can be reached at