- November 23, 2021
All Shannon Ligon wants to do is give her 6-year-old daughter, Neirah, a home they can call their own. The two have been living in a small space with Shannon Ligon’s mother, Evelyn Ligon, in her east Winter Garden home — but that’s about to change for Shannon Ligon.
She is the latest person to be approved for a house through West Orange Habitat for Humanity. And she is excited that her new home is not too far from her mother.
“It’s very close, which is very convenient because I didn’t want to move too far away from her in case she needed me,” she said. “It makes it easy. (Neirah is) partially deaf; my mom takes her to Lake Como School — they have programs there that cater to her.”
Shannon Ligon grew up in Winter Garden, attending Maxey Elementary and Ocoee Middle before graduating from West Orange High School in 2012.
Her goal upon graduation was to attend the private Edward Waters University, in Jacksonville, but it didn’t work out, she said, so she started classes at Valencia College.
“I was trying to do forensics, but I ended up having to stop doing that and work full time, and then I got pregnant with my daughter,” Shannon Ligon said. “After I had her at Health Central in 2014, I decided I wanted to become a nurse because of how nice they treated me.”
Although Shannon Ligon didn’t pursue nursing, she did begin a career as a medical assistant in internal medicine. She has been with the Orlando Health organization for three-and-one-half years, and she has a work schedule that suits her and her family.
Neirah is excited about getting a new home and a room of her own — even if it is several months away.
“She asks me every day, ‘Is it finished yet?’” Shannon Ligon said. “I’m pretty excited for it, to be honest. I have (ridden) over there to see if they’ve put anything up yet, but I haven’t seen much. They’ve dug up the ground.”
What she wants most is to be a homeowner so her daughter can see it’s possible to make dreams come true.
“Leaving something to my daughter is what I want to be able to do the most,” she said.
“I’m excited to have three neighbors to go along this journey with since there will be four homes at Criswell Court, and we can’t wait to move in,” Shannon Ligon said.
“A new home means a place to raise my daughter, to welcome family, to start new family traditions and to cook,” she said. “But it means more than that. It’s a lifetime of change for me, for my daughter and for our family that will last generations.”
Shannon Ligon was selected from more than 80 individuals expressing an interest in homeownership. She immediately began saving for her down payment and working to complete her 200 hours of sweat equity. She said she has earned about 60 by attending events and joining volunteer teams to help paint and landscape residents’ homes through a new Neighborhood Revitalization Program.
She has started her first-time homeowner classes and will complete financial literacy classes conducted by Habitat partners.
Her assigned mentors, Jim Vanderwoud and Helen Olivieri, said they are thrilled with her enthusiasm and progress with the program.
“Shannon Ligon is one of our newest homeowner partners, and she is a wonderful new partner,” said Marilyn Hattaway, West Orange Habitat director.
Shannon Ligon’s home is one of four being built at 275 Center St. in east Winter Garden. The mini community, Criswell Court, is named for the late Bill Criswell, a founding member and longtime supporter of the local Habitat affiliate.
Shannon Ligon, her daughter and their dog, Milo, will have one of the two small cottage homes, with two bedrooms, one bath and a porch.
Habitat Construction Manager Randy Stuart estimated the cottage homes will be finished in November and the two garden homes in the community will be finished by next May.