Tammany Times: Habitat Fashion Show to benefit Women Build '18

Original Article on theadvocate.com

Home ownership is an American dream, and one family will be living the dream this Fourth of July. Sandy Payne, with the help of family and friends, has completed the hours of “sweat equity” needed to pick out the location of her new home to be built by Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West.

“They will be raising the walls the last week of September,” as part of Women Build 2018, Payne said. This year’s Women Build is Sept. 28 through Oct. 31, and the site will be at 70429 Ninth St. in Covington.

“I’m very excited,” Payne said about the four-bedroom house that will be built for her and her three daughters. “We’re going to have our own place to decorate every holiday, to string lights and hang the flag.”

That’s just a small part of what the home — which is expected to be completed in 2019 — will mean. Two of her children are adopted, and a home of their own will mean not only independence, but stability.

The Habitat chapter is ready to kick off awareness of Women Build 2018 with a new event. Tickets go on sale July 9 for the first Hammers and Heels fashion show and luncheon, to be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 24 at Maison Lafitte, 402 Lafitte St. in Old Mandeville.

Maison Lafitte and area businesses have partnered with Habitat to create the show. Fashions from Lilly Pulitzer, The Villa, Cameo Boutique au Darling, Hemline Mandeville, Posh, Bella Bridesmaids, Francos Boutique, Suella, the Habitat’s ReStore and others will be on the runway to reveal this fall’s new looks.

Shane Mutter will be the guest emcee, and DJ Vic, Vic Moore, will provide the music. There will be a silent auction of items that range from a family portrait session to a chance to be a deejay for a day. Tickets, $45, include lunch and an open bar.

Payne learned firsthand about Habitat’s efforts to build affordable homes two years ago when she volunteered for a service project with a group from her church. She said it was fun, but also gratifying, to have the opportunity to help another family.

Her pastor knew of her own need and encouraged her to apply for a Habitat home. She did, and that began a two-year process that included getting her credit score up and learning to budget in preparation for the responsibilities of a mortgage and home ownership.

The Payne family has been renting a three-bedroom apartment in Covington that does not allow pets. In addition to having more room, she said they will also be able to get the family dog back from a friend.

“It’s going to be a big deal when we have our own space,” she said.

Groups of up to 25 volunteers per day are invited to sign up early for Women Build, the annual Habitat for Humanity project that encourages women across America to raise the walls on a house that will make homeownership possible for a local family.

Build days are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Women and men, ages 16 and older, are invited to sign up as a group or as individuals. A donation of $30 is requested of each volunteer for the Women Build.

Last year, more than 400 volunteers contributed 3,000 hours to build two homes in Covington during the fall Women Build. For information, call Katie Melucci at (985) 893-3172, ext 222, or email kmelucci@habitatstw.org.

For information and tickets to Hammers and Heels, visit habitatstw.org/womenbuild.