CARBONDALE — The skies were gray and cloudy Saturday morning, but the faces inside a home at 507 N. Carico St. were sunny as the home was turned over to its new owners, Jasmine and Jaylen Quarterman, from Jackson-Union County Habitat for Humanity.

The Quartermans and their children, Zhiyon, 3, Khylan, 2, and Zharia, eight months, moved into the three-bedroom home Saturday afternoon. They also have an 8-year-old, Nevaeh, who was not at the dedication.

“It means a lot to me and Jasmine to be so young and have the opportunity to build ourselves, not only financially, but also to make our relationship stronger,” Jaylen Quarterman said.

As part of the contract with Habitat for Humanity, the Quartermans had to put “sweat equity” into the home during its construction. They spent 300 hours working on the home. Jaylen explained that the couple has to put in 200 hours themselves, and 100 hours can be donated by family and friends.

“God bless Habitat for Humanity. I want to thank them for this opportunity,” Jaylen Quarterman said.

Jaylen Quarterman learned some new skills that will complement the ones he was taught by his grandfather who worked in construction.

“Without the effort and time put in by Habitat volunteers, under normal circumstances we would not have a house this nice,” Jasmine Quarterman said. “I feel like God has richly blessed us.”

Jasmine Quarterman also thanked Habitat volunteers. She said they made a point to make sure the couple had the home they want. She chose a pale green color for the walls of the kitchen, living room and hallway. She said the bedrooms are all different colors.

The Quartermans heard about the local Habitat for Humanity and applied. When Jaylen Quarterman went into Aaron’s to rent a television, Jamie Perryman, president of the local Habitat, waited on him. Perryman recognized the name and together they figured out Habitat connected them.

Jasmine Quarterman also encourages others to apply for a Habitat home if they qualify. The requirements for the mortgage are not as great as she expected.

“I never thought me -- right now -- could be a home owner. I thought maybe in 10 years. I’m 28 and I am a homeowner before my parents,” Jasmine Quarterman said.

The dedication ceremony included an introduction of the family, scripture readings, prayer and presentation of the house by Pastor Ronald Chambers, a candle lighting ceremony, presentation of a Bible and of the keys to the house. It ended with the Lord’s Prayer.

“Just more than a year (ago), this was an empty lot here in Carbondale,” Perryman said during the ceremony. “Jaylen and Jasmine closed yesterday on the mortgage. They will have a zero percent loan for 22 years.”

He introduced the new homeowners.

“Thanks, everybody, for coming and welcoming us into our new home,” Jasmine Quarterman said.

The crowd included the couple’s family, church family from Bethel AME Church, friends and Habitat volunteers.

“I just cleaned this floor yesterday, and look what you people have done,” joked Barb Rester, a Habitat volunteer.

Perryman presented the Bible to the couple. “Make sure this thing gets some use,” Perryman said as he handed the Bible to Jaylen Quarterman.

Then, they were handed the keys to the home.

The couple was given a folder with information about who to call in an emergency or if they had any issues with the home. Chambers gave them two cards from Bethel AME members with gift cards to help set up their new home.

Volunteers will have to return to the home to finish concrete work, landscaping and other outdoor projects. Aur Beck said a solar energy project also will be installed later this spring.

Perryman said the group is totally funded by volunteers and gets no state or federal money. The group also is looking for its next homeowner. When the homeowner is chosen, they will help determine whether the next home will be in Murphysboro or Carbondale.

For more information go to www.juchabitat.org.

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Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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