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JEFFERSON CITY – A new house built by River City Habitat for Humanity is giving Monica Smith and her family more space to grow.

Smith said she plans to keep the house, dedicated Wednesday, looking like new.

“I better not see not one single crumb on this floor,” she said, clutching her son’s fast food meal as he scurried down the stairs of the new two-story home.

Smith previously shared a two-bedroom apartment with her two sons, mother and grandaughter.

“It was tough,” she said. “It was very overcrowded and we needed something new.”

As part of the Habitat homeownership program, Smith had to complete training programs and put in “sweat equity,” actually working on the house, before earning the keys. Smith purchases the home from Habitat with a 25-year interest-free mortgage.

Colleen Carl, River City Habitat assistant director, said the program goes beyond just the build itself.

“The hours she put in, that’s one of the things that really helps the homeowners become grounded,” Carl said.

Students from Jefferson City's Public Schools' Nichols Career Center helped build the home’s kitchen.

“The students were involved in the build and design process from day one,” Amy Berendzen, community-relations director, said. “It’s an opportunity for our students to show their stuff and build a house that will become a home for a family right here in Jefferson City.”

This is the eighth house completed by the partnership between Habitat and Nichols.