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Rudolph recognized as first “paid in full” homeowner

What started as a dream in 2001 has finally come true for Margretta Rudolph.

Rudolph is the first “paid in full” homeowner with the Escambia County Habitat for Humanity, according to Lisa Tindell, executive director for the non-profit organization.

“We are so excited for Margretta,” Tindell said. “It has been a journey for her to get from where she was to where she is now. We are happy to have been of help to her along the way.”

Rudolph said the journey to being debt-free on her home has been rough, but with God’s help she has made it to where she is.

“When I applied for a Habitat Home I was working,” Rudolph said. “But there came a time when I had a stroke and couldn’t work.”

The time following her stroke was rough on the homeowner, physically and financially, she said.

“I just had to lean and depend on the Lord,” Rudolph said. “I had some hard times before I had the stroke and was having some financial problems then. It took me over a year to get back to where I could even walk and I was just overwhelmed with problems. But, by trusting in God, some way, some how, little by little it all worked out.”

Tindell said the final payments on Rudolph’s home came from a now-ended program, Hardest Hit Alabama.

‘At a Habitat affiliate state meeting last year, we were told that the assistance program would be ending in November 2019,” Tindell said. “I thought about Margretta right away and set out to help her apply for some assistance. There were some qualifications for the program and she worked hard with me to get everything filled out and documented to see if she could qualify for the help. In the end, after months of praying by her and by me, the payment was approved.”

The final payment for Rudolph’s home came in December 2019 and extinguished her mortgage completely, Tindell said.

“I just had to pinch myself,” Rudolph said. “I was doing a happy dance! I called my sister and we were both saying ‘hallelujah’ over this. I am so thankful to know that after all these years, my house is paid for and I don’t own anything on it anymore.”

Tindell said that Rudolph was chosen as a Habitat partner in November 2001 with the final mortgage papers being signed in December 2002.

“Margretta received the sixth house that Habitat did in the Brewton area,” Tindell said. “She was chosen to receive the home for her and her son, who was only 11 or so when the home was completed. The 2 bedroom home was perfect for them.”

Rudolph said she is still happy in her home and is thankful for the home that is now hers alone.

“I am still happy where I am,” Rudolph said. “The neighborhood is good and I like it there. My son is in an out now that he is pretty much grown. I am thankful to God to have a roof over my head that is paid for.”

Tindell said other homeowners are nearing the end of their mortgage agreements and others will join Rudolph in the “paid for” column.

“We set up mortgages for a 20-year term when we partner with a family,” Tindell said. “We have a couple of homeowners who are nearing the end of their mortgage terms. We certainly would love to be able to make more families homeowners in our area in the future.”

Tindell said that work on the next Habitat home is set to begin this spring with the next partner family already gearing up to have a new home.

“We are excited to start work on our next home for our next family,” Tindell said. “We have been working hard to gather the funds necessary to make sure the family has a decent, safe place to live that will be within their means as far as monthly payments.

We have already chosen our next homeowner/partner and will be getting to work in the next couple of months to make another dream of owning a home a reality for someone in our community.”

Escambia County Habitat for Humanity serves qualified families in the Escambia County area with homes already built in Brewton, East Brewton, Flomaton, Atmore and Perdido. To date, Escambia County Habitat for Humanity has built or renovated 23 homes in the county serving more than 120 individuals.