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York County Habitat celebrates end of mortgage

Twenty years ago, Annie Moore moved into her very own home.

Before getting keys to her home, Moore, then in her mid-30s, said she had three young children sharing one bedroom in a rented apartment.

After 20 years of payments, Moore, the first Habitat for Humanity homeowner in York County, paid off her four-bedroom house on Oates Street. Volunteers, homeowners and board members showed support for Moore at a "Tear up the Mortgage" party at her house Sunday.

"It feels great," Moore said. "It really does feel good. Thank God I made it."

With a smile plastered on her face and animated gestures, Moore said she'll never forget the day Habitat for Humanity of York County, an organization that works with low- to moderate-income families, came to Rock Hill.

A friend told her they were taking applications at Pilgrim's Inn. Moore filled out an application, and she was chosen to help build and then buy the Rock Hill house that she moved into in 1990.

The mother of four, now in her late 50s, only has one child left living in the home now,, she said.

"I wouldn't have a house or have paid off house without Habitat for Humanity," she said. "Without Habitat, I'd probably be paying $800 a month in rent in some house. Right now, I am living pretty comfortable."

Habitat works with homeowners who volunteer their time to attend classes and work with volunteers building houses to earn the opportunity to buy a house. The organization was founded in York County in 1988, the same year ground was broken on Moore's house. Since then, 44 Habitat houses have been built in York County.

Moore, who has worked as a medical press operator for 16 years, said getting picked for the Habitat house was a blessing for her and her family.

"I've never seen so many people excited for me," she said of Sunday's celebration. "I made it."

Art Florack, who worked with Habitat in the '90s and now volunteers at the Habitat ReStore on Anderson Road, said he thinks it's neat Moore completed her payments.

"We knew Annie through work in Habitat," Florack said. "She's a nice lady who worked hard. It shows Habitat works. That's what makes it nice."

Steve Rast, former Habitat president in York County, said he couldn't believe it's been 20 years since he helped build Moore's house. He installed plumbing, phone lines and worked on the roof.

"A lot of me is in that house," Rast said. "I remember doing work on Christmas Eve ... trying to get Annie in the house in time for Christmas."

Moore wasn't given the keys in time for Christmas 1989, but she's celebrated two decades of holidays in the house.

Moore has worked hard to make the house a good home, she said. She's added a driveway, deck and siding to the house over the years. Moore said she's replaced the carpet, the roof and some appliances.

"I work hard in the yard to try to keep it up," she said. "I'm going to keep on working hard. I have more plans for this house."