We miss hosting home dedications – a ceremony that honors the tremendous effort and commitment of homeowners, while also recognizing the volunteers and partners that helped build the new home. In this post-pandemic landscape, huddling the Habitat community into a new home for a time of blessing and sharing just isn’t possible. But we still want to mark the the accomplishment.
So today, we celebrate Nancy. Congratulations and welcome home!
Earlier this year, Nancy courageously shared her story from the Changing Lives Luncheon stage. The following are her words.
Nancy at the 2020 luncheon.
My Name is Nancy and I am a future Habitat homeowner.
The need to have safe affordable housing struck me hard because just not too long ago, the affordable rent we had was taken from us. The homeowner decided to sell the place, we called home for about 9 years. It was hard for us to find a new place; we didn’t have the best credit and 2 months wasn’t enough to save the 1st months and last month’s rent, and deposit for a house to accommodate a sandwich family – especially in the rising rent era we live in.
We were left homeless by the time the 2nd month came up. We slept in a church for 2 months and that was the hardest time for all the kids, my parents and I. Until a friend told me about a program that would help with deposit and first month’s rent.
We were so excited, but I always had in the back of my head this wasn’t our home because we are still renting. The homeowners can up and sell the house whenever they like. We needed a place to call our own. It is important for every family to be able to have affordable housing, a place to call their own.
I first heard about Habitat from a classmate, who said it was a better way of buying a home because of the rate they helped her get. The second person to really tell me about Habitat was a friend (now my boyfriend). He pushed me to look into homeownership; he even accompanied me to the initial orientation at Habitat.
As I sat and listened at the orientation, I was excited but also a bit afraid. I thought to myself what if I don’t get accepted? And this guy kept pushing me to just get it done, saying I would never know unless I tried. About 2 months later, I decided I was going to apply.
This is definitely not a hand out. Working with Habitat is a partnership. I worked a total of 350 hours in sweat equity – all construction hours. I wanted to learn what building a house was all about. I felt like it had more meaning. I learned so many different things. I think the best was when I learned how to build a fence. It was physical work, but the best.
The most important thing I learned throughout my sweat equity was that I wasn’t alone. Whomever the fence was for or whose tiles I was setting in a kitchen, we are all working together. This was a partnership with my neighbors. The same way I help build their homes, was the way others would help me too.
Now when my son asks me, “Why mom, why do we have to move schools again?” I am able to tell him, thanks to Habitat, “Baby this is the last time, I promise.”
Nancy signing her closing documents.