“I’ve lost many things… I have to start over. But with Habitat, I can have my own place that’s affordable and new.”
Every Homeowner Has a Story
Future Habitat Homeowner
Tonya is a friendly, open woman who joined the Habitat homeownership program earlier this year. She is single, though she says she’s looking forward to getting back out there and potentially meeting someone new once she’s settled into her new home. She is temporarily staying with some friends while she waits for her new house to be completed. “It can be difficult not having my own space,” she shares.
In her free time, Tonya enjoys relaxing and watching TV shows, especially reality shows which offer a fun escape. Things have not been easy for her in recent years, and she shares that she can’t currently take part in many of her favorite hobbies, like exercising and cooking due to her present living situation.
During the rocky past several years, her exercise equipment, along with most of her furniture, has been moved to storage, and her cooking utensils were among many items stolen from her. On top of this, Tonya has dealt with a series of serious health issues. What began with a routine gallbladder surgery ultimately led to a serious brain injury and her having to completely relearn how to walk on her own. “I went from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane,” she explains. “I worked at the State Hospital for 20 years as a medication aide but now I’m on disability and won’t be able to work again because I still have residual side effects like memory less and [chronic] pain.” Her new home will be a bright spot in her life where she can once again have her own space and privacy and make the place her own.
Tonya first learned about Habitat for Humanity in 2005 after the devastating tornado hit. The storm damaged the mobile home she was living in at the time. Habitat stepped in to help build for families who had been affected, but Tonya believed she would not qualify, so she chose not to apply at that time. Now, over a decade later, she’s part of the program and quickly progressing through it. “I’ve lost many things,” she says. “I have to start over. But with Habitat, I can have my own place that’s affordable and new.”
Tonya recently reached the 150-hour mark in the Habitat program and was able to select the lot for her future home in the Jacobsville neighborhood! She has become a familiar face in the Habitat office, frequently coming out to help there as well as volunteering with UNOE and the Habitat ReStore to get her “sweat equity” hours. Her house will be started early next year and once construction begins there, Tonya will also put in a minimum of 50 hours helping build it.
Receiving her new home will be a huge milestone in Tonya’s life. She shares that she is excited to live close to Garvin Park and the new Deaconess Aquatic Center, because she enjoys walking and swimming. “I’m really appreciative, I need this fresh start,” she says. “It’s great that I’m going to have a brand new home I’m able to afford, and to really start over and replace the things I’ve lost.”