Colson Family Prepares to Move into their Dream Home
Beverly and Jimmy Colson feel like they are living in a dream as they prepare to move into their new dream home in Stanly County.
The Colsons, celebrating their thirteenth wedding anniversary this year, have always rented an apartment or house. Through the years, some landlords took advantage of their intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by not maintaining needed repairs or a safe living environment.
They both wanted more out of a place they called home.
Today, Jimmy, 61, and Beverly, 51, are the proud owners of a newly built, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home they can call their own thanks to Stanly County Habitat for Humanity. A dedication celebration was held this week as the couple prepares to move from their current rented apartment to their new home. Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit, Christian agency based in Georgia, builds homes throughout the country using volunteer labor.
The couple, who receives community support services through Monarch and other community agencies, applied for a Habitat for Humanity home in early 2020 and received word in March of that year that they were approved for a new home to be built for them.
Monarch’s Stephanie O’Neal, community services program manager, and Kamala Dunlap, community specialist, support the couple by connecting them with community resources and helping the couple reach independent living goals. Jimmy works as custodian at Monarch’s annex offices in Albemarle.
InReach’s Karen Heath, a community navigator with the community agency that provides services to people with I/DD, has served as an advocate and a support for Beverly since 2019. She assisted the couple with the Habitat for Humanity application process and continues to provide services.
To receive their home, the Colson’s volunteered 500 hours of community service which included 100 hours directly with Habitat for Humanity. Jimmy helped with construction. Beverly, who is legally blind but partially able to see, helped distribute water and lunches to crews as well as cleaning work sites. Beverly and Jimmy both agreed they enjoyed volunteering and making many new friends in the process.
As future homeowners, Habitat for Humanity also required that the couple attend in-person and virtual classes to help them understand financial management, household repairs and how to properly maintain a home.
The Colsons took a break from packing to share the news and to express their excitement about moving. “We do like the design. I like the kitchen and the bedrooms and the living rooms. We like everything,” Beverly said. The home features limited or no steps throughout to accommodate their physical disabilities.
Heath said it is gratifying to see the Colsons prepare to move into their new home: “They have broken the stigma placed on people with I/DD and limitations on their life to be able to overcome obstacles in their way and work toward home ownership. It shows that with help and correct advocacy, individuals with disabilities can do anything.”
O’Neal said the couple works as a team to advocate for themselves and support one another. “One thing that I admire about both of them is that they speak up for themselves and advocate for themselves,” she said. “Jimmy is very supportive of his wife and makes sure her needs are met. In turn, Beverly supports her husband.”
She added that the community supports the couple receives with them being able to achieve their goals. “Despite the obstacles, they are officially homeowners. Some people don’t get to own their own home. We are all excited at Monarch to witness this big accomplishment,” O’Neal said.
When all the dust settles and moving boxes are gone, what does the couple look forward to? “When we get in our own home, we are thinking of having family and friends over for a cookout,” Beverly said.
Posted on: Wednesday July 14, 2021