Proud parents of three little girls, Canyon Lake family Candace and Joe look forward to the day they have a safe, decent, affordable home that fits their family’s needs.

Candace, an employee in the infant room at the Canyon Lake Kids Academy, and Joe, a carpenter at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, knew of each other in high school but didn’t connect until years later.

“Apparently, she had a crush on me then (in high school) and I didn’t know… so she says,” Joe joked.

Now married, Joe and Candace have 10-year-old Maci, 3-year-old Abigail, and 4-month-old Sydney. Both parents are working hard to provide a stable home for all of their children, but one of the things they most look forward to in their future Habitat home is the room needed for their oldest, Maci.

“She (Maci) has Epileptic Encephalopathy, and that’s part of her developmental delay. But on top of that she has cerebral palsy, which is like her physical development issue. So that’s the physical delay, and it’s more of… couple those together, and she gets a little bit more complicated,” Joe explained.

Their apartment in Canyon Lake provides challenges for the family of five.

“Our apartment’s not really handicap-accessible,” said Candace. “so with (Maci’s) walker and stuff, it kind of makes it harder when she’s trying to use it to get in and out of the door frames of our apartment.”

Both parents face difficulties navigating Maci’s ADA equipment throughout the apartment, starting with the front door.

“They have a threshold, like an inch and a half kind of bump-up, so getting up and over that is a little bit difficult,” said Joe. “Their bedroom (Maci and Abigail’s) is at the front of the hall. The bar top extends over, so when you’re going to make a turn to get into (their room), it’s kind of tricky. Their closet bumps out, so you have to make almost a 90 (degree turn) so that makes it a little bit more difficult.”

“Thank God we haven’t had a 911 emergency,” added Candace.

“They wouldn’t be able to get her on a stretcher. They wouldn’t be able to get a stretcher into her bedroom,” said Joe.

Besides difficulty navigating the apartment, the family faces a lack of space for all of Maci’s medical equipment and their two youngest daughters’ belongings.

“Maci has a lot of equipment now that we’ve accumulated over the last two years of being in the apartment and we just don’t have enough space for it anywhere. And with her and Abigail being in that tiny room, I had to take some of her equipment out so I could store their toys in there and have a place for them to play with their toys without Abigail getting onto the equipment,” said Candace. “(Maci’s) equipment kind of overspilled into our dining are so it’s taking up our dining room space.”

In addition to building a stable home that allows space for their family to grow, their three year old, Abigail, has already told mom and dad she wants yellow walls in her future bedroom.

“Abigail’s our spunky one. She’s three but sometimes she acts like she’s 15. She’s really outgoing. She loves her sisters, she’s always playing with her iPad,” said Candace. “She’s very hands on with helping us and stuff and sometimes it’s too much and we have to tell her to slow her roll and just be a kid. She gets upset if I don’t let her help with chores.”

In addition to having an accessible home and enough space for their daughters, Joe and Candace look forward to becoming homeowners in the Canyon Lake community that they love.

“It’s the idea of rent versus mortgage. We pay this (rent) every month. We pay it, pay it, pay it. It’s like you’re buying fireworks and lighting it on fire. You never get it back… it’s kind of like the light at the end of a tunnel when you buy a house. It makes you feel like you’re going to accomplish something,” said Joe.

“I’m actually going to enjoy the peace and quiet. I’m not going  to hear neighbors banging upstairs, Rocky (their dog) won’t be barking because he hears noise,” said Candace.

When asked what they were most excited about with their future Habitat home, both parents mentioned the impact on their children.

“Putting a roof over my children’s heads… being able to have a place to watch them grow up,” Candace said. “I think I’m mostly excited about Maci’s room and bathroom. Finally having a room that can accommodate her.”

“Yeah, they’ll always be able to call that home,” Joe added.

Joe and Candace are currently working hard on their sweat equity and have attended dozens of hours of homebuyer education classes in preparation for homeownership. Construction is scheduled to begin on their home in Canyon Lake in January 2024.