“If I hadn’t found Habitat, we would still be in that one-bedroom apartment, and it wasn’t the best of conditions.
There was an old electric stove, and depending on what you were doing, you’d get shocked. The dryer was always going out, and we had to hang clothes all over the house. It seemed really quiet when we were looking for a place, but then over time, there was a lot of violence. There was actually a homicide in our building. It’s those things that put a lot of stress on people, and we were definitely feeling that.
I didn’t think I was going to qualify, but they considered my situation a dire need: four people in one bedroom, having the issues that we were having.
I had no idea that I was capable of doing a lot of the things we ended up doing. I loved it. For over a year, I was working full time, plus doing sweat equity to build my future home. I was also enrolled in Habitat’s Master Homeowner Program. It taught me everything I needed to know to maintain my home for life.
Monday evening I took classes at Habitat’s education center, and I put in my construction hours on the weekends.
While constructing my house, I got to know my neighbors. We built each other’s homes, and you can’t get much closer than that.
The biggest difference overall is that general sense of security. Just knowing that it’s ours, and we make all the decisions — it’s been really comforting for our family. I think the kids knowing that they won’t have to move is very comforting. We’ve made a lot of moves over the years — 13, in fact. I know my son really appreciates having his room. Having his space, his own room — he really likes it a lot.
You know, I think I was more scared buying a car than buying the house. The only reason for that was Habitat for Humanity. I feel really comforted knowing that, if anything were to happen, Habitat would work with me. So I didn’t feel scared, just willing.
When I went to sign all the official paperwork, and they hand you the real keys and the title and everything, that’s when I was like, “This is happening. This is now my house, and these are my keys.”
We moved in right away, that next weekend, and even with boxes all over the place it felt like, “This is my house.”