Local family gets Habitat for Humanity home, just in time to decorate for Christmas

Jim Ritterhoff, of Simms Management, hands Tasha Harris, left, the keys to her new Habitat for Humanity home. Eileen McClory
Jim Ritterhoff, of Simms Management, hands Tasha Harris, left, the keys to her new Habitat for Humanity home. Eileen McClory

Tasha Harris and her daughter Jordan got a home, just in time for Christmas.

The Harris family is the latest to get a Habitat for Humanity for Greater Dayton home. Their house was dedicated on Thursday, and they hope to move in to the two-bedroom home on Sandy Drive in Trotwood sometime this weekend, Harris said.

“I am so, so thankful, honored and blessed to have everyone in our lives right now,” Harris said during the dedication, to everyone who had donated to her new home, offered furniture or house items or helped build it. “You’ve made it better.”

The house was dedicated to Ann Simms, who founded the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton Women Build program, which uses female volunteers and donors to build a safe and affordable home for a local single mother.

Simms died in July 2019, just shy of her 85th birthday. Members of the Simms family congratulated the Harris family via Zoom, and representatives for the family, Jim Ritterhoff and Karen Seni, handed the Harris family the keys to their new home.

Harris is the mother of six children between the ages of 19 and 31. She said she was excited to decorate her new home.

“I’m ready to stay here,” she said.

Harris lived in rental housing for much of her life, including with public housing rent vouchers, and had to move frequently because landlords would lose the house or sell it. She said she’d lived in at least 10 different homes during her life and never thought she would own her own home. She works in manufacturing plants.

Harris applied to the program and was accepted in 2016. Habitat makes the down payment on the home but asks their volunteers to do volunteer hours to help pay for it. Harris will make the mortgage payments on the home.

Several donors and sponsors helped build the home, including Simms Management and Charles Simms Development, and several organizations donated beds, towels, bedding, food, books and a vacuum cleaner to the Harris family so they can start their new home.

Tim McMurdo, marketing director for Habitat for Humanity for Greater Dayton, said the mortgage is for the cost of constructing the home to make it affordable for the homeowner.

Habitat built five homes this year, McMurdo said, along with repairing tornado damage buildings and their regular home maintenance they help people with.

Norm Miozzi, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton, said providing homes for people changes their lives and the lives of their families.

“It matters because it changes not just their living situation as far as stability for them and their children, but it literally changes the futures of their entire families going forward,” Mioizzi said.

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