“I’ve learned a ton, and I’ve met a lot of caring, genuine people along the way.  From classes to construction sites, the people who volunteer and teach are very informative and help prepare you for home ownership before you move into your house.” 

Every Homeowner Has a Story

Future Habitat Homeowner
Shalin B.

Shalin B. is a woman with a mission.  She has overcome a lot throughout her life and maintains a bright, sincere optimism about the future.  She says, “I’m on disability because I have a mental disorder.  I was diagnosed at the age of 19, and I have been in recovery ever since.  I was over-medicated for 5 years, and I was living in a fog which made it hard to get things done.  Little things like cleaning the house were difficult, but it is so much better now!  I also have a great support system which helps a lot.” 

Shalin actively works at being a strong, independent mother for her daughter Olivia (13), who is high functioning on the autism spectrum.  “Olivia was diagnosed at the age of 3 by HeadStart, and she has been in therapy since then.”  Shalin smiles as she says, “Olivia loves plants … a lot.  She takes care of our neighbor’s house plants and gets paid $10 a week.  They have become friends, and I like that it teaches Olivia respect, responsibility and how to help someone out.”  The family also has a loving dog named Louie, who they rescued.

Shalin says, “Overall, I am doing good!  I take care of my daughter; we live on our own; and, I’m pretty financially independent.”  The family has been living in a “pretty pricy” 2-bedroom apartment for the last 11 years.  Shalin says, “I applied a long time ago with Habitat, but at the time, I still needed to pay off a few bills.  Things just kept coming up over the years to stop me from qualifying.  Finally, I paid everything off and kept moving forward … until I qualified for Habitat’s homeownership program!”  The day Shalin found out she was accepted was extremely special for the family.  Shalin explains, “Olivia had put on her Christmas list to Santa that, ‘I want Mommy to get a new house.’  When I told Olivia we were approved for a Habitat home, she exclaimed, ‘Santa’s early this year!’

Since beginning the Habitat homeownership program, Shalin says, “I’ve learned a ton, and I’ve met a lot of caring, genuine people along the way.  From classes to construction sites, the people who volunteer and teach are very informative and help prepare you for home ownership before you move into your house.” 

Shalin is involved with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and one day on the construction site she ran into a Core Crew member, Bob Grant, who also attends the parish.  They have bonded ever since and enjoy working together building homes.  “We’ve worked together on the construction site, and he sometimes passes out peppermints to the future homeowners.  It always makes me smile.” 

Part of the Habitat homeownership program entails meeting with a budget partner to help prepare the future homeowner financially for homeownership.  During one meeting, Shalin’s budget partner said, “Do you realize you could have bought a house by now? Your rent of $800 X 12 months X 11 years = $105,600!”  Shalin said, “You are SO right!”  Shalin goes on to say, “I am so thankful for this program for allowing me the opportunity to move forward.”

Shalin says, “This house means financial independence for me, and I am looking forward to saving money!  I want to put something back for Olivia.  It will also mean stability for my daughter and myself.”  Looking to the future, Shalin comments, “I might go back to school for social work.  I feel like if I can make it through this program, why can’t I try school too?  I have a certification as a Peer Recovery Specialist – to work with people who have the same illness as me to help guide them through the illness, show support, and help them cope.  I would really like to further that and do something more for our community someday.”  Shalin is also looking forward to having family over to the home once the house is built as well as walking the dog and playing with Olivia at Cauldwell Park.

Shalin states, “I don’t know how to thank everyone enough.  Without the volunteers, donors, and staff, this home would not be possible.  You all make it happen.  This home is going to change my daughter’s life.  I know that. And mine.”