Not Just A House, But A Home

Raquel is a single mother of three teenage boys. “(I have been a) single mom since 2012,” Raquel explained. She came to Comal Habitat for Humanity looking for a safe and affordable home with more space for her children.

Raquel said that her and her children have had several living situations over the years. “We lived in (Section 8) housing for seven years. […] Our apartment was broken into several times.” While Section 8 housing is beneficial to families financially, it can be unstable as a permanent solution. This is due to the landlord’s ability to terminate Section 8 assistance at the end of the contracted lease.

Before the family’s current duplex, Raquel and her sons lived in a trailer. Raquel said, “the floor wasn’t good. I fell through the restroom floor, one of my legs went through the floor.” She also mentioned signs of floor rot as well as the smell of mildew in her oldest son’s bedroom walls.

However, even after moving into the duplex, “My kids are bigger, they need more space. My middle child sleeps in the living room, but still (it’s) not really his own space. […] He didn’t want to share a room with his brothers (anymore).”

Raquel’s aunt has a Habitat home, “My aunt has had a habitat home for years now. She suggested that I apply.” Raquel, however, was unsure that she would qualify due to income as well as a few other factors. “I saw a home presentation on Facebook and decided to look at more information and apply.”

She mentioned that before the application, “If I were to buy a house, it wouldn’t be anytime soon, and I would worry about being able to keep it.” Now that Raquel has been approved by Habitat for Humanity, she is hopeful that “We can call it an actual home, not just a house.”

Raquel is “excited and filled with emotion” for the opportunity of homeownership. “I don’t think my kids will ever want to leave the house,” she says jokingly about her future home. Her three teenage sons are “excited but not very patient, they keep coming to me saying, ‘ When will we start building? We want to help build! We want to build our own rooms!”

Raquel looks forward to having a larger kitchen and living room, and a loft with more space for her boys. “We cook together a lot, they helped me with thanksgiving last year. The other day I was getting a little frustrated with the space in the kitchen. […] It will just be nice to have a bigger space to cook together.”

To Raquel, a home means “A safe place that is ours.” She remains motivated because of “My kids, always my kids. […] They have become really close, which is what I have always wanted for them.” Since her partnership with Habitat, Raquel is “a lot happier giving a home to my kids.

It has caused me some stress because I want to give them a home that they feel safe to come back to (later on) if they need it.”

Raquel says that becoming a Habitat homeowner makes her feel “happy.” She is also “grateful for (the donors and volunteers working with Habitat), they help somebody’s dream come true.”