WSLS, Habitat for Humanity raise wall for 9th ‘Home for Good’

Elhaj and Rouaa Baya, originally of Morocco, will be moving in once construction is complete

ROANOKE, Va. – From a simple platform, built on a newly laid foundation, will grow a new house for a couple that could only dream of home ownership.

“Real excited. This is a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Elhaj Baya, the home buyer said.

Crews recently dug the space for the foundation, creating what will be a single-level house with a walkout basement. A few weeks prior, the lot in Southeast Roanoke had been nothing more than a sloping bit of dirt covered with kudzu vines.

Though the wall raising took place on a sunny, warm day, crews are bracing for the work ahead under winter weather conditions.

“The winter is always a challenge. The holidays are a challenge. The winter’s a challenge, but at the same time we’re hoping to take advantage of this good weather right now so we have a place to work, so it’s dry,” said Brian Clark, Habitat construction director.

A crowd gathered in anticipation of the wall raising which is the ceremonial start to the build. Sponsors and volunteers pounded nails into studs that employees had signed, giving the wall a personal touch. And before the wall could be lifted into place, project leaders gave some brief speeches.

“I just want to welcome you and thank you for being here for the beginning of the ninth — the ninth home for good,” Karen Mason said, her words drawing big cheers from the crowd.

“If you didn’t come excited, you have to be excited now. What a pivotal day for the community,” said WSLS 10 Vice President and General Manager Jaimie Leon.

And then it was time. The Baya family, Habitat workers, and sponsors lifted the wall into place, while Elhaj secured it with a drill and some screws.

“I’m very excited. I can’t wait to move. It’s really, really a beautiful house,” Rouaa Baya said.

She said she and her husband did not know until the wall raising that they would have essentially a two-story home since there would be a walk-out basement. The couple had been expecting to have a simple one-story residence.

The project is scheduled to be finished in March 2024, as long as there are no weather delays.

For a couple who moved to the U.S. from Morocco, this event, this wall raising, marks the beginning of what really will become a Home for Good.

About the Author

John Carlin co-anchors the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10.

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