To find ‘simple, decent, affordable housing’
When Trammel moved from Chillicothe, Ohio to Richmond in 1978, she lived with family for a while and a few other places before settling into a rental on East Main Street.
“It was a nice house with two fireplaces,” she recalled. But after the homeowner died, Trammel could not keep up with repairs and the 52-year-old home was, literally, falling down around her.
While moving her refrigerator out of the kitchen, the very last item to be placed on the moving truck, a piece of the kitchen roof “just fell right in,” she said.
She didn’t have much luck at her next place on Elm Street, where she said the floor “was falling through the ground.”
In 1990, she took over full-time care of her granddaughter Johndora, so finding a safe home was important to her, she said.
While visiting the food stamp office in the spring of 1995, Trammel’s caseworker, who knew of her housing woes, asked her if she had ever heard of Habitat for Humanity. Coincidentally, a friend who lived down the street mentioned Habitat to her later that same day.
So Trammel filled out an application for a home and forgot about it, she said. However, soon after, she received a visit from a Habitat representative who came to talk to her about her housing issues.
Months later, she got another visit from Habitat to find out if she was still interested in a home.
But it wasn’t until the fall of 1996 when she received the visit she had been waiting for.
Habitat family partner Joyce Thomas, who would serve as a mentor through the building process, told Trammel that she was approved for a Habitat home.
“We both cried and cried,” Trammel said. “I’m extremely blessed. For Habitat to choose a family before they even know them — they don’t know if you’re black, white, grey or what. It was a sheer blessing from God.”
More than 200 people from all over the country came to work on her home that week, she said.
“No one in my family was able to get here to help me build my home, but that’s okay, because God sent special angels to get this house built,” Trammel was quoted saying in the “Habitat World” feature aptly titled “1997: ‘Special angels’ in Kentucky.”
Although following a knee surgery, Trammel isn’t able to help out as much with home construction, she finds other capacities to fill as a Habitat volunteer.
Trammel has served on the family selection committee, two terms on the Board of Directors and continues to show up to help at wall-raising events and Habitat dedications.
“I still tell people about Habitat,” she said. “I tell them to put in an application, say a prayer and wait.”
For details on how to apply for a Habitat home, visit habitatmadisonclark.org.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.