Gary and his two children, four-year-old “Little Gary” and three-year-old Olivia, look forward to a home that provides stability, independence and the room they need to grow and thrive.
Originally from Conroe, Texas, Gary moved his family to the Canyon Lake area in 2015. Since their move, an affordable, safe, permanent home has seemed out of reach to Gary.
“[After our arrival in 2015], we’ve probably moved about eight times around the lake,” Gary said. “We’ve had to move five times in the last two years.”
Gary, Little Gary and Olivia currently live in a small RV park in Canyon Lake, Texas. The park consists of a large gravel lot and four to five other RVs. Gary’s family’s 27 foot home has provided several challenges for Gary to navigate as he strives to provide the best possible life for his children.
“Since we’ve lived in it [the RV], we’ve had leaks in the roof, leaks under the sink. It’s not ideal,” Gary said. “We’ve had to do lots of plumbing work. It just seems like it’s one issue after another.”
In addition to the plumbing issues and roof leaks, Gary has had to get creative with cooking resources in the kitchen. An air fryer and crockpot replace the non-working propane stove within the RV and are used to cook most of the family’s meals.
The family’s belongings are stacked against the RV’s walls, piling up to the ceiling in some places. The RV’s singular, small bedroom acts as the sleeping area for both of his children while Gary sleeps on a loveseat at the opposite end of the RV.
“There’s not a lot of space. It’s worked for us so far… we’ve had to make it work,” Gary said. “but it is cramped. Very cramped.”
The lack of room, personal space and area for the kids to play is an ongoing concern for Gary.
“I would say our current home has probably impacted our health,” Gary said. “I’ve noticed that we [myself and the kids] get sick a lot more. Being around a smaller area, they don’t have room to do anything. It’s almost like living in a box here.”
Before applying for Comal County Habitat for Humanity’s Home Program, Gary was unsure of how best to move forward.
“I kind of felt like a failure, like I wasn’t doing enough for what I envisioned for my children or for myself,” Gary added. “I felt like my future was basically on repeat, like I would just keep doing the same things, living the same way. Like it would never go forward.”
However, he knew that he wanted to do whatever he could to provide stability and comfort for Little Gary and Olivia.
“My children are amazing. They’re full of brightness, energy and happiness. They light up my world,” Gary said. “I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”
Now a Habitat homebuyer, Gary feels relief.
“I feel blessed about becoming a Habitat homeowner,” Gary said. “A year ago, this would never have crossed my mind. What I hope that our Habitat home will offer over our current home is comfort, security and a place that I can actually call mine. That we can call home.”
When asked about his family’s future in his Habitat home, Gary described a safe haven for Little Gary and Olivia to grow up in and enjoy.
“Home means to me… pulling into your driveway and all the stress from the day just goes away because you’re in your circle, you’re in your bubble, that’s your zone,” Gary explained. “And you don’t have to worry about anything else for the rest of the day, you just gotta take care of your family.”
“Having a living room that we can sit in, relax. You know, watch a family movie. Being able to actually cook a meal in a kitchen. Going to our own bedrooms at night and knowing that everybody has their own space. They have room. Being able to actually have a decent-sized bathroom. A yard to play in. So basically every room in [our home] is going to mean a lot to us,” Gary added. “I think our lives will change dramatically. Our health will improve. My kids will be happier, they’ll have a place to move, to thrive. I’ll feel more like the parent that I was meant to be for my children.”