Home is a new beginning.
For homeowner Brenda, home is a time for new beginnings.
The search for a home of her own was rough. Even though Brenda had been pre-approved for a loan, what was available in her price range needed more work than she knew she could afford.
Brenda found out she was approved three days before Christmas and decided to tell her kids by wrapping up a note in a gift. “They were so excited.”
Since Brenda’s family moved into their home, she’s “seen a sense of calm and peace settle over all of us. We're all more confident. It’s been awesome to watch my kids blossom and focus on the future which does not seem so intimidating now.”
Habitat has lifted a lot of stress that was in their lives. The process “really opened my eyes to how much the community cares and wants to help people who are trying to improve their lives. We are forever grateful.”
Home is my safe zone.
For Habitat homeowner Melanie, home is my safe zone.
Melanie always wanted a home. She had been looking at homes yet was not able to find something that was not too expensive or needed a lot of work. So her mom encouraged her to apply to Habitat. When Melanie found out she was approved, she called her mom and cried because she was so excited.
"Seeing all the people come together from the community to help my dream come true was amazing." Melanie enjoyed the process of working with her mentors and especially enjoyed the day her entire family came to help build her home. "I felt like I had a great support system throughout the whole process."
Now, Melanie and her family have a space they can call their own. They're excited to be able to make new memories with family and friends. She's proud of all the work and ready to invest in her future. "There are not enough words to express my gratitude to everyone."
Home is a blessing from God.
Valerie and Blaze
For Habitat homeowners Valerie and Blaze, home is a blessing from God.
Those blessings come in many forms - from family randomly stopping by and wanting to spend the night to the volunteers and community who helped build the home to their neighbors who continue to provide support. "We are very thankful for all the genuineness of everyone and the heart that everyone had to make this home a reality. We admire and commend them."
Though their rental was cheap, driving to Alexandria every day for work was expensive and neighbor issues were frustrating. It was depressing. Now in their home, "the heaviness is gone."
Valerie and Blaze "love coming home from work into our OWN home." Sometimes Valerie even hugs the walls. "The stability this provides for both of us is fantastic. We can sleep peacefully and not worry about our safety. Thank you Heavenly Father for always providing!"
Home is family.
For homeowner Jenna, the journey to homeownership was all about family.
Her family, the family of volunteers helping build her home, the family that developed from the partnership with her mentors, and the feeling of family that surrounded her throughout the process.
Jenna has worked very hard to achieve her dream of owning a home. "When you want something, you set a goal and figure out how to make it work. My children are my world. I want them to know they are loved, and important, that I will always be their biggest supporter, loudest fan, and do everything I can to give them the life they deserve."
Since closing on her home, Jenna feels grateful, blessed, and happy. "I want to give back, just like everyone has done for me. I had so much community support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for helping provide a home for a family like mine. Our home is a place of safety, family, and a place to grow."
Home is comfort.
For Habitat homeowner Susie, home is comfort.
“I can finally relax. We love coming home to our own house and not having to climb stairs every day!” proclaims Susie. The comfort and joy of having a stable place for her children is something for which she is very proud. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to provide for my children.”
Throughout completing sweat equity, Susie met many volunteers and enjoyed working alongside them. “Meeting so many great people in the community was super fun.” To every volunteer, Susie shares, “You are all amazing individuals and God Bless ALL of you! You have absolutely made a positive difference in our lives.”
Susie enjoys having her own washer, dryer and garage. She feels like she has accomplished a goal and can now cross buying a home off her to-do list. She often comments how much happier both she and her children feel. “We love being at home now.”
For Susie, “Home is a safe, stable, comfortable place for my children and myself.”
Home is something I never thought possible.
For Habitat homeowner Katie, home is something she never thought possible.
After being diagnosed with a medical condition, owning a home was never something Katie thought she would be able to do. Rather, she thought she would have to live with her parents. “Now look at where I am! After a lot of hard work, this is MY home.”
Katie applied to Habitat because “I wanted to give my kids to have a place to call home. To give them as much as normal life as we can.” The application process was easy, everyone answered her questions and explained everything so it was easy to understand. Creating a budget with her mentor was very helpful for Katie and she encourages everyone to develop their budget too.
Having their own space is really a blessing. The kids enjoy spending time in their own rooms, they can do what they want and they are safe. “I love that they can be who they want to be. We are happy.”
Home is just what we need.
John & Amberrose
For Habitat homeowners John and Amberrose, home is just what they needed.
More space, bedrooms for each of their children, a park nearby, a pantry in which to stock and store food...these are just a few of the things John and Amberrose enjoy about their home. "It's OUR house, and it is just what we needed."
They are happy that friends encouraged them to apply "You could have knocked me over with a feather when you told us we were approved," commented John.
While working with volunteers and family during construction, John and Amberrose enjoyed learning new skills, like installing flooring. "We enjoyed having people come into our lives to help us." And now that they are in their home, their family can spend time together playing games and feel closer to one another. "Having a home is perfect."
Home is forever happiness.
For Habitat homeowner Shelby, home is forever happiness.
Shelby and her boys now have a safe home, with a backyard, in a nice neighborhood, something they never had until partnering with Habitat. "I feel I have given my children a great future full of opportunities I never had the chance to have. This experience has improved our lives.”
Being able to work with volunteers holds a special place in Shelby's heart. “Our home is a reminder of all the amazing people who make up our community.” One of her favorite memories is how every person was so welcoming and supportive to her family. "We are so thankful for all the amazing hard work and selfless dedication to help build our home. We are forever grateful."
"To me, my home is filled with love. We now have a comfortable place to lay our heads at night. Our relationships are closer and we are forever happy”
Home is where the heart is.
For Habitat homeowner Stephanie, home is where the heart is.
Before moving into her new Habitat home, Stephanie and her daughter were living with her parents. “We were on top of each other. It had been two years since I had my own bedroom. Now, I’m so excited to finally be on my own with my daughter.”
Stephanie looks at her home with a sense of pride. “I’m proud to look around and think ‘I did that!’” She learned how to use many new tools and enjoyed working with both the Habitat team and volunteers. “It’s fun to know who worked on the house. I wanted to meet them all! I’m so glad I got to be part of that experience.”
“The process, though a bit stressful at times, was easier than expected,” shares Stephanie. Her Friday through Sunday work schedule made it easier for her to be on the build site, although she didn’t have many days off. “I like knowing about the hard work that went into building the home. I’m so grateful for everyone who came out and all their hard work!”
Now, Stephanie and her daughter love to cook together. Stephanie enjoys watching her daughter learn new skills. “Our home is where we can grow as a family.”
Home is an accomplishment.
For the Dean's, home is an accomplishment.
The Dean’s are proud to proclaim, “we did it!” Though they never thought they’d be selected, through the encouragement of a grandmother, the Dean’s thought they should at least apply. They were “super excited” to learn of their approval sharing “it was a great feeling.”
Though COVID-19 made it hard for them to spend time with all the volunteers, they were amazed at the willingness of everyone to help their family. “This really gave us a chance,” commented Chris. “The fact that we know this is ours and we don’t have to move again is great. Our money is now going somewhere to benefit us.”
Their three daughters love the house and having their own space. They love to be “snow bunnies” snowboarding down the hill in their backyard. “The girls know it’s a safe and secure space. It was a great place to ‘hunker in’ during COVID-19. We had peace of mind knowing we were in our own place. Homeownership was one of our big goals, and we nailed it!”
To everyone who helped with their home, the Dean’s want you to know “You are more appreciated than you ever know. Your impact on our family is bigger than you’ll ever know.”
Home is awesome!
For Habitat homeowner JeriAnn, home is “awesome!”
JeriAnn’s face is radiant when talking about her Habitat home. Encouraged by her mom to apply, JeriAnn admitted she was ready to have a home of her own.
Soon after her approval, JeriAnn started putting money aside to prepare for future bills. Her determination to be independent and provide for her children was evident throughout the Habitat process. JeriAnn was a constant presence on the build site, even changing her work schedule to be available for every scheduled build day. Her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and work were an inspiration to volunteers. JeriAnn loved working with all the people and on all the homes. “I’ll never forget all the memories. I loved it and would do it all over again!”
Since moving into her home, JeriAnn has enjoyed making it her own, adding special family decorations such as her grandmother’s fox dreamcatcher, and even paying her bills. Each night, she helps her daughter complete her homework and they read together as a family. “We have a good routine. My kids have both improved in schooling, behavior and even get along better.”
Homeownership has been a positive experience for both JeriAnn and her children. There’s less anxiety and more calm, they feel safe and have been healthier. She’s gotten to know her neighbors, something that she’d never had an opportunity to do before owning her own home. She’s saving more money, playing with her children -- all of which contribute to the family happiness. “My home is awesome!”
Home is a place of stability.
For Habitat Homeowner Mary, home is a place of stability.
As a mother of four boys, all of which require some type of need, a home for Mary is much more than a roof over her head. It’s a stable place for her boys to grow up safely.
Before moving into her Habitat home, Mary’s living space was extremely run down, falling apart and caused a lot of health issues for her boys. When she found out she was approved for a Habitat home, she was immediately filled with great emotion describing it as “one of the best feelings for a single mom with kids.” “I knew this would be my forever home. A place where I can teach my kids how to be successful, and give them the stability they need for the rest of their lives.”
Mary has learned so much from her experience with Habitat for Humanity, and now as a homeowner. She credits the classes she took through Habitat, along with the continual support of her mentor for teaching her so much along the way. “The whole experience has been filled with so many blessings,” she shares.
Mary’s home was the first ever Cardinal Build, where Mary personally got to connect with local Alexandria Area High School students who helped build her home through their Capstone class. Getting to meet volunteers such as these students, and work on her own home, were some major highlights for Mary.
To all the volunteers and donors who helped provide Mary’s family stability she says, “Thank you so much for all your hard work and effort. You didn’t have to support, but you did and I am very thankful.”
Home is a place for my kids to thrive.
For Habitat homeowner Chelsey, home is a place for my kids to thrive.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan. As Chelsey frequently says, “it’s God’s plan, not mine” that determines your life story.
Chelsey has triumphed over many hurdles throughout her life. Her Habitat story is no exception. When first approved into the Habitat homeownership program, Chelsey and her husband, Joe, were excited to be able to have a safe and healthy home for their three children, especially for their youngest, Mataya.
Mataya was born with numerous health challenges, including hydrocephalus, a dislocated hip, spinal cord and kidney issues, and a club foot. Doctors are not certain that Mataya will ever walk. In the first two years of her life, Mataya had 13 surgeries. Chelsey took a leave of absence from her job in order to focus on the health of their three children, especially Mataya.
Five months into the Habitat process, Joe tragically passed away in a car accident. Chelsey, now a single mom to three children, one with medical issues. Her world was shattered and new worries new entered her mind.
Happily and gratefully, Chelsey still qualified for the homeownership program. “The day I found out that we were able to proceed with the house was the day a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew I would now be able to provide a stable, healthy house for my girls to thrive in. I also knew that this house was one that Joe and I started together and know that he is constantly with us.”
Chelsey’s home was built with over 350 volunteers during the 2019 Women Build. “I now have 300+ supporters and friends in this community, all thanks to Habitat. I have amazing mentors who still give me support. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, my daughter asked if she could call them Grandpa and Grandma. Of course, they were delighted.”
Now in their home, Chelsey is relieved to know that she no longer has to worry about the freezing cold rooms, lack of space, the neighbors smoking or playing in the parking lot. Now, her children can run in the yard. They can breathe clean air. They can safely navigate their home and have space of their own. They can thrive.
“God has not only given us the opportunity to have a house, but He gave us Habitat. To me, Habitat means hope, stability, security, love, and pride.”
Home is a place of my own.
For Habitat homeowner Jessica, home is a place of my own.
Upon learning about her approval into the homeownership program, Jessica was excited. "Everything I do is for my daughter." Jessica always wanted a home of her own, where she could provide for and be a good role model for her daughter, where meals could be shared together around the family table and where there was a safe yard where her daughter could run and play.
Through her partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Jessica's dreams came true! "I learned so much through all the classes I took and by helping build my OWN home." Jessica enjoyed all the connections she made with people throughout the process and the encouraging words written on the boards of her home.
Now, family can gather for meals, her daughter can safely play outside. They are safe and HAPPY.
To all Habitat volunteers, donors and supporters, Jessica says, "Thank you for changing my life. I LOVE my home! You are all wonderful."
Home is confidence.
Drew and Kirstian
For Habitat homeowners Drew & Kirstian, home is confidence.
Expecting your first child should be filled with joy and excitement - for Drew and Kirstian this joy was joined with the stress of providing a safe place to raise their child. They knew something needed to change. The home they were living in was not fit for their needs, had high utility bills, was making Drew sick. Not safe for them, as adults, let alone for children.
With encouragement from her parents, Drew and Kirstian applied to Habitat but were still hesitant. “We didn’t want to be a burden,” states Drew. They were “excited and nervous” waiting to hear back, and when they finally heard they were accepted for partnership the excitement grew.
After many months of building and working on their home and the home of others, the dream of owning a home became a reality. Many volunteers and donors joined together to make this happen.
The Smiths are happy to have a home to raise their daughter with a feeling of confidence and safety. They are excited to be close to family and to be a part of the Brandon community and are so thankful for the support that has been shown to them as they built their home.
Home is an atmosphere of family.
For Habitat homeowner Sue, home is an atmosphere of family.
In 2000, Sue Wadsworth made a choice to apply for the Habitat homeownership program. When she applied for homeownership with Habitat, Sue was working four jobs. She was broken by divorce, trying to start again and have a place for her children.
“I just couldn’t afford much at that point in my life,” Sue recalled. A realtor friend suggested she look into Habitat for Humanity. So she did, taking the first of many steps toward a more stable and secure future.
“I was over the moon when I was first approved. I knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Habitat became my home church. They take you in and love you. Habitat is something real that matters in people's lives," Sue said.
Not only has owning her own house given Sue a financial start, it also has created a safe and comforting space for her children. “A secure home makes all the difference in the world,” she said. “It created a real atmosphere of family.”
Over the years, she has finished the basement, decorated rooms in her style and gardened in the yard – all ways she’s made her Habitat house her family’s home. That hard work and passionate involvement with Habitat has paid off.
“It really renewed my faith because people who are involved with Habitat for Humanity care about walking the walk,” Sue said of the process. “It was just an unbelievably awesome experience for me to go through. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t wake up and I don’t feel gratitude.”
20 years later, and two years early, Sue completely paid off her mortgage. Sue is the FIRST Douglas County Habitat homeowner to achieve this momentous milestone!