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Day Three Of 'Welcome Home'

With hundreds of Habitat for Humanity volunteers working from morning to night, the construction of a home televised on CBS This Morning's Welcome Home project made amazing progress on the third day of work.

A day before, the windows were installed, the siding was put into place, and the roof on the main part of the house was covered with solar-powered shingles, reports CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mark McEwen.

By early Nov. 20, the finishing touches were applied as the house finally became a home for one hard-working woman and her four daughters.

In her daily life, Michelle Hayes is part cook, part valet, part drill sergeant. But to her daughters, she is mom. Every day, before leaving for her own job, she gets her four children, ages five to 15, ready for school.

For the last five years, their home has been the School Street Projects in Yonkers, New York.

"It is tough," Hayes told CBS News Correspondent Jose Diaz-Balart.

"People actually do their drugs in front of the kids. You gonna do your stuff? Buy it and leave. Why do you have to stand there in front of the kids?" she added.

A dangerous existence, but Hayes and her kids found a way out through Habitat for Humanity. The non-profit organization builds and fixes up homes, then sells them without profit to families in need.

After going through a rigorous evaluation process and working 500 hours of "sweat equity" on other Habitat houses, Hayes was placed on a list for the next available home.

Hayes and her eldest daughter volunteered their time to do "demolition work, knock down walls, put up walls, you can do painting, took out the garbage."

"You name it, we did it," Hayes says.

Overnight, Hayes will be a homeowner. For her kids, it's a welcome change. They are well-versed in what a difference their new home will bring.

Hayes' three youngest daughters, Ebony, far left, Doniqua, and Shideara. (CBS)
"Like not worrying about somebody getting shot or somebody getting robbed in the staircase," says Shakeyma, 15.

"A basement, a backyard, an attic, front porch, a back porch," says six-year-old Shideara.

"And a dog house," adds five-year-old Ebony.

For their mother, the change will be something you can't put a price on.

"At least, I could say I accomplished one thing," Michelle says. "I have my home now, and hopefully, I'll get my kids through college nd set them on the right track as my mother set me on the right track."

On the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 18, homebuilding pro and CBS This Morning Consultant Bob Vila stood outside something that looked very much like a completed home.

"I can hear the saw blades ringing in the back as we're putting down the porch deck," he said. "We have the back door and the front door left to put on. We have a crew caulking the siding so we can get a coat of paint on it today. And there is lots of detail work taking place on the outside. But the inside is a revelation."

The home's interior already had drywall hung, and volunteers quickly followed with the plaster work.

While the traditional way of doing the plastering or drywall installation is tedious, especially in the outside and inside corners of the rooms, Bob Vila demonstrated a new way that is easy for even laypersons to follow.

"We're using a newly developed product that kind of gets rid of this approach and is such a sturdy item you don't have to worry about the cracks," explained Vila, holding a pre-formed drywall corner.

Bob Vila applying paper corners. (CBS)
Made of three layers of paper, the drywall corner can be folded in half. It is then wedged into a corner at a 90 degree angle. "All you're putting on is the joint compound and this paper. The way it's put together. It's extremely strong," Vila said.

After applying a layer of the joint compound to the corner, the paper is placed on top and smoothed into place. Using a plastering knife and applying pressure, sweep down at an angle from the top of each side of the paper to the end of the strip.

The joint compound being used is fast-drying, as is everything else in this technologically innovative showcase home, including the plaster and paint. The material can also stand up to the cold winter temperatures.

"That's one of the reasons and one of the technologies that have allowed us to do things here quickly," Vila explained.

Written by Benita Green with graphic design by V.A. Burcop.
Copyright 1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Sponsored in part by Louisiana-Pacific Corporation and the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing.


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