“I really appreciate everyone for believing in people and believing in change.  You [donors] are definitely a God-send.  It’s easy to turn away with what you have, but for you to step up to the plate and say, ‘It’s bigger than a credit score,’ and to see people and their lives … it’s a great example of God’s love, and how he loves us.  It makes me cry. Thank you.”

Every Homeowner Has a Story

Future Habitat Homeowner
Brooke O.

Brooke O. is strong, resilient individual and a fun mother to 3 girls – Teauna (14), Ava (7), and Tailynn (9).  The family enjoys going skating together and traveling.  Brooke says, “I’ve been blessed to be able to take the kids to Florida … the beaches are our favorite destination!”  For the last few months, Brooke has worked as a Special Direct Support Professional for Easter Seals Community Living.  She explains, “I do med trainings for new hires and take care of folks who suffer from behavioral disabilities.”

The family has dealt with a number of housing challenges over the years.  Specifically, Brooke and her kids lived in an apartment that was riddled with problems.  “We were getting sick, but couldn’t figure out why.  The apartment ended up having mold, and our allergies to it [the mold] were taking a toll on us.  Section 8 tried to help, but we really just needed to move.  My doctor even said I should move out.”  Along with the medical issues and medical bills, Brooke was paying $600-800 for rent and utilities.  Around that time, another glaring issue arose.  “Rats were somehow entering into the basement and eating through our clothes and food.  It was NOT okay.  We needed to move.  Thankfully, my financial situation improved, and we were able to move into a 3-bedrrom apartment at Memorial Housing …while I continued working towards a Habitat house.”

Brooke has applied for a Habitat home a few times.  “The first and second time I applied I was denied, and it was really hard to hear and process that news.”  She goes on to say, “However, I believe people have to be teachable and put in the work to succeed.  You have to be able to take the million ‘no’s’ in life, and keep working.  I get that they [Habitat] can’t put you into something that you are not ready for.  It’s the same with God … he knows when you are ready.  I don’t want to get the house and fail; I knew there was a reason for what Habitat was asking of me to help me succeed.  I had to build my credit and have several different sources of bills.  I stayed on top of it, and the third time I was accepted.  Habitat has worked with me through the application process.”

Since beginning the Habitat homeownership program, Brooke has been working on sweat equity and taking homeownership classes.   She says, “My budget partner has also helped me a lot.  I think about budgeting more.  Between the classes and meetings with my budget partner, you have constant reminders to do better throughout the program – it’s repetitive and makes you remember!  Now, it’s like a little lightbulb clicks on and tells me to think before spending.”  Brooke adds, “Habitat has prepped me to go for things I was always nervous about going for.  For example, I’ve taken on a 401(k)!”

 “Owning a Habitat house will mean stability and growth.  It will be nice to know that there is a home for my kids to always come back to.  This house will mean there is a home for my kids that can get passed down.”  The family is looking forward to having friends and extended family over to eat and play.  “Our Habitat house will have 4 bedrooms, so the girls will be able to have their own rooms.  They are getting older, so it will be good to have their own space and privacy.”

Looking to the future, Brooke states, “As soon as I close on the house, I’m going back to school for a medical degree – nursing or behavioral health.  I’ll continue to work and also be a part-time student.  I’ve been gearing up for it.”  She laughs and adds, “Habitat’s homeownership program can be exhausting!  And it has really prepped me for school.  I’m ready!”

“I really appreciate everyone for believing in people and believing in change.  You [donors] are definitely a God-send.  It’s easy to turn away with what you have, but for you to step up to the plate and say, ‘It’s bigger than a credit score,’ and to see people and their lives … it’s a great example of God’s love, and how he loves us.  It makes me cry. Thank you.”