"I didn’t think I was ever going to own a home [...] I feel like it's finally happening."

Sheila has been living on her own since she was 17 years old. Now, she is a single mother of two teenage boys, Jose and Israel. Jose graduated from high school early and plans to enlist in the military when he is eligible. Israel is about to start high school and hopes to become a lawyer one day. To provide for her boys, Sheila works two jobs and is going to school for a second bachelor’s degree. Her goal is to give her boys a safe, decent, and affordable home where they can always return.

A major issue Sheila and her boys face is the lack of space in their current apartment. For Sheila, it’s tough to see her boys so cramped in their shared room, “they’re both already taller than me.” Because of the limited space, Jose spends his time at his grandparents house, where he is most comfortable. Sheila told us that Jose can feel overwhelmed, “when we’re all [at the apartment] it’s overstimulating to him,” Sheila explains. She knows that by staying with his grandparents this gives him the space he needs, but it’s tough separating the family. With a Habitat home, Sheila will have enough space to have her boys under one roof.

Space is not the only problem the family faces in their current apartment. Not too long ago, the bathroom her sons share flooded. “The people upstairs […] flooded [their] bathroom and then the water all came down into [Sheila’s] apartment.” During a rainy week, the apartment flooded a second time and debris damaged the pipes. Sheila said, “water was just coming out of everywhere. […] I had to lay towels down in the kitchen and in the hallway outside of the bathroom […]  it tends to do that if it rains too much.” Wanting her boys to live in a safe and decent home, Sheila reached out to partner with Habitat.

When Sheila applied to Habitat’s home program, she didn’t expect anything. She thought, “the worst they could say is no.” Shortly after her application, Sheila was told she had been approved and she was overwhelmed with excitement, “I started crying. I didn’t know what to say on the phone because I kept crying.” Sheila has been working hard, preparing to become a Habitat homeowner. Sheila has learned how to do some home maintenance and is excited to learn more. “I need more,” she said. “How do I do the roof now? What’s next?” She is eager to continue her Habitat homebuyer education classes.

Sheila and her boys are excited about a home that they can make their own. Her two boys look forward to their own rooms and decorating them however they want. Sheila told Jose and Israel they “can finally paint the room however you want to paint it, you can decorate it however you want to decorate it.” Since the news of acceptance, Sheila herself looks forward to decorating for the holidays and fulfilling a promise she made to her sons, “I’m excited! I didn’t think I was ever going to own a home […] I feel like it’s finally happening. I always told them, ‘one day you guys will have your own room. One day we will have a house.’” As Sheila works towards homeownership, she would like to thank those who empower people through housing. “I want to thank them for allowing God to touch their heart.”

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