Lumbee Tribe completes 175th home in 12-year housing program
McGee family surprised to learn their home was a milestone for the Lumbee Tribe’s new home construction program
FAIRMONT – Bobby and Jenny McGee had no idea their new home marked a milestone for the Lumbee Tribe’s housing program.
Tribal housing officials had no idea either until a recent check of housing records reveled it is in fact the 175th house built through the tribe’s new home construction program.
Anthony Holden is the director of the tribe’s new construction program. He led a group of tribal officials who met with the family on June 4 to congratulate them on the milestone associated with their new home. They shared a huge cake with a picture of the tribal logo, a new home and vintage photos of tribal elders.
Candle numbers “175” burned atop the cake on the McGee’s island countertop in their spacious new kitchen.
“It gives us great gratification to know that we’ve helped that many people get into quality homes they can call their own,” Holden said. “This is just fabulous making sure our tribal members get into nice homes. We are working hard to build the highest quality home at the lowest price. To reach 175 homes for our Lumbee families is great, especially considering we are getting them in new, energy-efficient homes. It just makes us want to do more to help the people.”
The McGee family moved into their new three-bedroom two-bath ranch home about three months ago. The home is on Turkey Branch Road a mile north of Fairmont.
District 2 Tribal Councilman Terry Hunt of Fairmont said he is pleased with the growth and development of the tribal housing program. He said it’s always great to help families like the McGees.
“It’s a great thing,” Hunt said. “It’s an honor to do that and wonderful to be able to help our people.”
The McGees were initially undecided about which of the tribe’s eight house plans they liked best until they eventually fell in love with plan No. 1, a 1,448-square-foot beauty wrapped in brick.
They live in the home with their 16-year-old daughter Courtney. The notion of having a more spacious, modern living facility was especially appealing to Courtney. She is a rising senior at Fairmont High School with plans to attend college to pursue a career in the medical field after she graduates next spring.
“I love it,” Courtney said. “It’s a nice home and it has way more room.”
The McGees have been married for four years. They met on the job at Gaston Sealey Co., where both sale farm implement supplies.
Bobby McGee has worked there for 13 years and his wife has been there six years. “The love just blossomed from there,” said Bobby McGee, in between acknowledging the laughs he gets from Janis Joplin’s 1971 posthumously-released No. 1 song that made his name famous.
Their new home is only a few minutes away from their job on property originally owned by his wife.
They said the family had little room in the 14X80 three-bedroom two-bath singlewide mobile home where they previously lived.
“We love the house,” he said. “The mobile home was cramped, but the house has much more room.”
McGee said he was familiar with many of the tribe’s programs when he applied for tribal housing assistance in 2012. His parents, Bobby Sr. and Elizabeth Oxendine McGee had received rehabilitation assistance earlier to install new vinyl siding, shingles, windows, doors and a heating system in their home.
He said he initially went in to apply for down payment assistance to purchase a doublewide mobile home. McGee said he changed his mind about getting the doublewide after he met with Mona Rimberg, a veteran housing specialist who has worked at the tribe for 13 years.
Rimberg still remembers the conversation nearly three years later. She says she is greatly satisfied that everything fell in place for the McGees to get their new home.
“It makes you feel better when you have a family qualify and get a new home,” Rimberg. “We go over all the programs with them and let them know their best option.”
Buying a doublewide for $80,000 at a high interest rate over 30 years was not this family’s best option, she said. Now, the family has a $488 monthly payment over 30 years on a stick-built home versus a payment between $900-$1,200 on a mobile home that may not last over the life of the mortgage.
A conversation between Bobby McGee and Rimberg about down payment assistance turned into a lecture on the tribe’s housing program options.
“We make sure they understand the program and what works best for them,” Rimberg said.
McGee smiles as he strolls across the porch of his new home. Looking back on the whole process, he said he is pleased with how tribal workers like Rimberg and Holden helped his family and others.
He has a brother who is now applying for services.
“I think the program is great,” McGee said. “I’m glad they are helping our people. I know a lot of people who have been helped. I think its great and our people are well blessed to have these kinds of services available to us.”
Holden said the Lumbee Tribe recently completed work on six houses that started last year. There are now five homes under construction.
Holden said the tribe recently accepted bids on four new homes with construction set to begin this week. He said he expects to get bids for four additional houses in August.
Anyone with questions about the Lumbee Tribe’s new housing program may reach Anthony Holden or Housing Manager Kathy Locklear at (910) 521-7861 or visit www.lumbeetribe.com on the web.