Applying to Habitat was a life-saving decision

Four years after moving in, Latasha Howard enjoys her Habitat home with four of her children.

by Latasha Howard

If I hadn’t moved into my Habitat house, I don’t think I’d be alive today.

Oct. 18, 2008 — I remember the date. That’s when my kids and I moved in.

Before that, we lived in an old, drafty, moldy house we rented in Tacoma, Wash. I have severe asthma, which was aggravated by living in that house. I had to take steroids and I was on oxygen all the time. I was hooked up to one of those big tanks, even when I was cooking.

My doctors installed a central line, which is a tube that went into my body so I could administer my medications myself. But because of the mold and the dampness in the house, the incision kept getting infected. I ended up with septicemia, a bloodstream infection, four times when I lived in that house. I probably spent about half of the three years we lived there in the hospital with infections. The longest stretch was 22 days.

My doctor told me I needed to have a living will for my kids. That’s no way to live when you’re 35.

I have five children — Aache, who is 18; Aaquila, 15; Aamira, 14; and twins Samaad and Aarionne, 12. They were all on steroid inhalers for breathing problems because of the mold. They kept a bag packed, because they knew if I got sick and had to go to the hospital, they would have to stay with a friend. (continued)

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