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Family Stories

Ashley Finister Family

Ashley Finister is a Galveston county native and a mother to her 3 year old son Everton. Ashley learned about Habitat from her older sister, Ruby, who just recently purchased her new home through Habitat this past year. Ashley says she was “at a loss for words” when she was told she was accepted into the Habitat program. Her surprise and gratefulness is evident in her first meeting at Habitat for Humanity as she seems in awe of the opportunity to own her own home. Ashley currently lives in a one bedroom apartment in Houston where she shares a room with her son. The complex is not a safe haven for children as there is consistent foot and car traffic outside her front door that would put Everton in harm’s way. As a result, she explains that her son rides his bike in circles in the family room when he needs to get his toddler energy out. Ashley considers the Habitat program a dream come true for her and her son as they will finally be able to live comfortably in a brand new house that she helps to build.

Kristina Alvarez Family

After receiving the news, Kristina was both excited and shocked. She was beginning to lose hope of finding an affordable home after years of bouncing around in various small, expensive, and bug ridden apartments. “I was tired of renting things that would never be mine,” states Kristina, “It’s difficult and tiring to have to move all of the time.” It was then that she heard about Habitat for Humanity, applied, and is now accepted! As a mother of two children, Miranda who is five and Kaylie who is two, Kristina is proud to be able to provide her children a more stable environment with a home of their own. She is ecstatic that her children no longer have to worry about moving every year or six months when the lease on the apartment ends. Kristina currently has two jobs. She works at Clear Lake Regional Hospital as a PBX Operator and as a Director for Champions. Working night shifts is a common occurrence so she often leaves her kids to stay with her mother. When she works during the day Miranda and Kaylie are at Daycare. With her new home on the way Kristina is looking forward to having a clean, safe environment for her kids to play in. Most of all, Kristina says, “I am so happy to have a permanent place to live that I can call my own.”

Kelley Family

Dionne is a mother of two, a boy Tristen age 7 and a girl Ahrianna 4. She is currently employed as a supervisor at a medical billing company. Dionne became aware of Habitat for Humanity through the mail. She researched the requirements, made application and was approved for housing in September 2012. She noted the “sweat equity” process was rewarding as well as a real learning process. I learned to paint, use a nail gun and many other maintenance items. The “sweat equity” process will also help me in maintaining my new home.
Thanks to all that helped me and my family.

Ramirez Family

Millisa Ramirez is a single mother of two girls, Samantha and Christian. Melissa has unfortunately suffered a great obstacle in her life. Three years ago; Melissa was diagnosed with chronic characinoid tumors in her stomach. This illness has left her unable to work and provide for her family. Living on so little, the Ramirez family was forced to move in with Melissa’s parents who currently live just blocks from where her new Habitat home is being built. Affordable homeownership will finally provide a stable environment for Melissa to raise her two daughters. When the Ramirez family moves into their new Habitat home, built by the loving hands of the Apostles volunteers, they can settle down comfortably, and start focusing on their future!

Rene Family

Before moving into their Habitat home, Margarita Rene and her two boys lived in a small apartment located in La Porte for over 20 years. The one-bedroom apartment had constant moisture leaks that grew mold, which caused John, her oldest son to develop horrible allergies. In addition to that, foundation issues left the structure deteriorating and large cracks in the wall. However, the Rene family stuck it out because they couldn’t find an affordable alternative. Today the Rene Family lives in a three-bedroom Habitat home in La Porte, a community they have known for years where they are already well acquainted with neighbors.

Felicia Rich Family

Felicia is a single mother of two wonderful twin boys. Felicia and the boys are currently living with Felicia’s mom, sleeping on the floor and couch in the small living room. While juggling two jobs, Felicia faithfully volunteers to build out on the Habitat worksite in anticipation of owning her own Habitat home. Felicia’s home will be completed by Christmas 2012!

Leticia Garza Family

Garza Family

This is what Leticia Garza, single mother of three had to say about moving into her new Habitat for Humanity home. “I will finally have a stable and safe house with a quiet neighborhood to raise my kids. Habitat will allow me to become a homeowner at a reasonable and affordable price that I should be able to afford to send my kids off to college, so they can grow and be productive citizens. We will have a house we can make our Home. We are also looking forward to hosting neighborhood and family gatherings such as dinners & BBQ’s!”

Perrett Family

The Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas will be partnering with the Amie Perrett family to build their home in Dickinson. Amie Perrett is a single mother with 2 sons, Mariano Rubio , age 11, and Ethan Olvera-Perrett, age 4, who is employed as a secretary with the City of Galveston. The family lost everything when her apartment was flooded during Hurricane Ike. Currently the family is living in an apartment in a high crime area. The Highland Park Presbyterian Church specifically requested this house be built for a family who was severely impacted by Hurricane Ike.

Elizardo Family

Joe and Betty Elizardo are a cheerful hard-working couple that never thought they would achieve homeownership! That was until they applied to Habitat. Now they will have a home that they can settle into for retirement one day. They are already planning a neighborhood barbeque on their front lawn with friends and family to celebrate when they move into their new home this fall, 2012!

April Lee Family

April Lee is a strong, single mother of two wonderful children. April was accustomed to doing everything on her own, never asking for anything in return. Here is what one friend had to say about April Lee, “April is an independent women and a very hard worker, always pushing herself to perform above and beyond. Being a single mother, she has learned to do without, always putting her children first. ” The BAHFH team and April’s parents could not be more proud of what April Lee has provided for her family through Habitat homeownership.

Diaz Family

Jose Diaz a proud father of three, loyal husband and hard-working employee of Dickinson ISD, was struggling to provide for his family. Before moving into a Habitat home, Jose commuted three hours to work each day and worked tirelessly, but never had income to save. Now the Diaz family lives right in the heart of Dickinson and their home is located just 5 short minutes Jose’s work. In addition, the affordable monthly mortgage payment will allow the family to save for their future, and for important things such as healthcare for their children.

Hall Family

Betty Hall is a single mother of two, Aaron,12 and Mitchell, 17. A few years back, when Betty’s father-in-Law began to struggle with some health issues, she graciously took him into their home. When Betty isn’t working hard as a Home Healthcare Officer, she is taking care of her family. Betty Hall is known for her strong family values, which are instilled in her children as well.

Arrona Family

In March, Bay Area Habitat for Humanity called Salvador to let him know that the Arrona family had been approved for a wheelchair accessible home to be built inLa Porte,Texas. Deborah and Aria happened to be in the room when this phone call (that they had all been waiting for) was received. They could tell by the look onSalvador’s face that it was good news. thed a huge sigh of relief, as their lifelong dream, since they’ve Once Salvador confirmed what Deborah was thinking, everyone screamed with great joy!Salvador danced with Aria in her wheelchair, and Deborah started calling, texting and emailing everyone she could think of to share the good news. After the celebration,Salvadorand Deborah hugged each other and breabeen married, was finally becoming a reality.

Aria, as a result of a micro-preemie birth, lives with spastic cerebral palsy, cortical visual impairment, epilepsy, and is fed through a feeding tube – just to name a few. Her multiple special needs require the use of durable medical equipment (such as a wheelchair, stander, and suction machine) and supplies (such as syringes, formula, and diapers) for her care. All of these items take up a lot of space in the family apartment, leaving little room for Aria to get around in her wheelchair. For access to the bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen, Aria must be carried because her wheelchair will not fit through the small hallways and door openings. This will become more difficult as Aria becomes older and larger. The sidewalks at the family’s apartment complex are not wheelchair friendly, and Aria’s wheelchair can barely fit through the entry way. Other issues their apartment has are persistent plumbing problems, drafts from the bedroom windows, and water damage caused by Hurricane Ike that has yet to be corrected. Having a brand new, wheelchair accessible home will eliminate and improve all of these issues.

Salvadorand Deborah honestly believe that only good and positive changes can come from moving into their new Habitat home. Their new home will provide more space, security, stability and independence for Aria and the multiple special needs she lives with daily.

Gilmore Family

Gilmore Family

Tiffany is the single mother of three who is buying the house through lots of sweat equity and a no-interest mortgage that will actually help fund the next Habitat House. She moved here a couple of years ago from Shreveport, LA to try and give her children a better life, and she’s so excited to be putting them in a home of their own.  Tiffany’s mother and grandmother moved as well so they could stay close to everyone.  The kids are 16, 12 and 10 with the middle child being the girl, “The other mother” in the family as Tiffany calls her. Can’t you just see the new life beginning to take shape for Tiffany and her children?  Theirs is just one story.  There are 74 more like them due to Bay Area Habitat for Humanity, and over 300,000 around the world thanks to Habitat International.

Hamlin Family

The Ortiz & Hamlin Families

Three years ago, Francisco & Obdulia Ortiz’s League Cityhome was destroyed by a house fire – all that remained was a shed structure at the rear of the property. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire; however, Mr. & Mrs. Ortiz, along with their children, now had no where to live. While living in a small apartment, the Ortiz family applied for a Bay Area Habitat for Humanity home, and they were accepted. In September 2009, Mr. & Mrs. Ortiz moved into their new Habitat home in Dickinson,Texas.

Today, Mr. & Mrs. Ortiz’s daughter, Maria, and her family live in the remaining structure on the family’s League City property. While they are grateful to have a roof over their heads, Kevin, Maria, and their 5 children, are cramped and uncomfortable in the one bedroom, one bathroom structure. Four of their children sleep together on a single bunk bed, while Kevin, Maria and their youngest son sleep on the sofa in the living area. The house lacks structural integrity; therefore, when a bad weather is predicted, the family must vacate for their safety. Kevin and Maria wish for a better home to raise their family, but are torn when it comes to leaving the family property that they love. With help and advice from Maria’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Ortiz, the Hamlin family also applied for a Habitat home – and they were accepted into the program in July of 2011.

Bay Area Habitat for Humanity will complete a 5-bedroom home for the Hamlin family April 2012. Kevin, Maria, and their children could not be more excited. When asked how she felt about getting a new house, Alexis, the Hamlin’s 7-year old daughter, responded, “I’m so excited about getting my pink room! My brothers will not be allowed.”

The Marshall Family

A. Marshall Family

Angela is a hard-working, stable mother of a 16 year old daughter and a 12 year old son. While we try not to share confidential information, one of the reasons a family is chosen to become a Habitat partner is need. Angela’s family lives in a tiny 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom garage apartment. The daughter has the bedroom. The mother and son sleep on a futon in the living room. Due to gaping windows and improperly installed ac window units, there are problems with water and bugs getting in. Angela is currently working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting through University of Phoenix’s online program. She anticipates completing the program in March 2011. Angela has been volunteering with us since October and her 12 year old son volunteers afternoons at a local program to help earn the family’s sweat equity. Her daughter babysits the son when Angela works at our build site.

The Vierra Family

Vierra Family

Pedro and Cassandra Viera are a hardworking family with three young children Pedro Jr., 5; Johnathan, 3 and Sariah 8 months. Pedro became aUSCitizen on October 24. Pedro has worked in construction for 12 years and Cassandra is a home maker. When asked why they wanted a Habitat home, Cassandra said “we wanted our children to have space to play and separate rooms for our sons and daughter.” She continued saying “we will be paying for our own home, and not just paying rent”. The Viera’s have been on the build site virtually every weekend since learning about their new home taking part in every part of the building process.

Rebecca Marshall Family

R. Marshall Family

“My children will be safe and their future secure” a tearful Rebecca said when asked what her new home means to her. Rebecca’s son Chad  has Cerebral Palsy, and sporatic seizures. Since moving into their Habitat home back in the fall of 2009, Chad has not experience any seizures.

Falcone Family

Judy Falcone, her daughter Jessica and son EJ were living in a small one bedroom 900 Sq. ft. apartment. Today the Falcone’s are very grateful for their Habitat home where they can have more room, and something to call their own. This is what her employer had to say of Judy, “I have known Judy for almost 10 years now. she is a loving, kind, and responsible individual. She is a very thoughtful and selfless, she would do anything to help. She has worked very hard to become self sufficient. She is a loyal friend and a loyal employee.” With the determination she adopted from her mother, today Jessica Falcone (19) is enrolled at San Jac College, well on her way to a brighter future.

Jackson Family

Pamela Jackson and her two children lived in a Mobil home in La Porte, that was destroyed in Hurricane Ike. Despite their humble accommodations, before the hurricane, the Jackson family was know for their generosity. Even with the little they had, they did the so much for others. This is what a friend had to say of Pam Jackson “Pam is the most loving, giving person anyone could ever know. She has always opened her home to all of us in need. When I separated from my husband, she allowed my daughters and I to live with her.” As a Habitat homeowner, she continues to always share her home and love with those in need.

Bredeson Family

Diana is a single mother of two sons, Jay and Michael. Jay is a graduating senior at Clear Lake High School and Michael is 11 years old. Diana works as an insurance agency receptionist. She attends Christus Victor Lutheran Church where she teaches Sunday school and has volunteered at Vacation Bible School. The 3 family members have been working very hard to earn their 350 hours of “sweat equity” and are very excited about the prospect of finally owning their first home. This family is currently living in an overcrowded apartment they are renting.

Burns Family

Burns Family

Jacqueline Burns has lived in the Bay Area all her life and says she plans to stay here forever. Due to a pending divorce, Jacqueline and her 16 year-old daughter, TaShea Callis, and her son’s infant baby, Delvin Lanier, are currently living with a friend who is a Habitat homeowner. The Burns’ family will be the Thrivent for Lutheran’s partner family. Right now this home is severely overcrowded. The Burns’ family sleeps in the living room on the sofa, love seat, and floor. They could not stay there indefinitely and until now, had no place to go. Jacqueline is described by her employer and friends as a dependable, hardworking team player; a very giving, thoughtful individual.

Ordonez Family

Ordonez Family

Salvador and Amber Ordonez, a hard working young couple, have two small children, Sarah, eight years old and Jacob, 1 years old. Both Salvadora and Amber work at McDonald’s. They found out about Habitat from a friend and applied for a home in March 2010. They thank God fro the opportunity to be homeowners, and were ecstatic when they recieved the news they had been accepted. Amber and Salvador look forward to escaping the small, one bedroom, roach infested apartment. They are thankful for the wonderful volunteers who helped build their home.

Perez Family

When asked how she thought this home would affect herself and her family she said, “We’ll finally be our own family in our own home. I never had a room of my own that was mine…neither my children…no more moving. We can finally root ourselves in our own home.” She continued saying, “you’ve given us so much more than a home. You’ve given us a start, a beginning. You’ve made us a family. You’ve given us endless possibilities to what we could do to our home.” Naticia recently left her job as a dog groomer to become a security guard. Now she begins her new life with a new job and a home to call her own.

Chandra Taylor Family

Taylor Family

Bay Area Habitat for Humanity “Spring Church Build” participants are partnering with the Chanda Taylor family to build their home in Dickinson. Fourteen area churches are funding and building the home and framing began the 1st week of February. Chanda is a single mother of 4 children, Devon (age 17), Audrie (age 11), Emery (age 6), and Caleb (age 2).  Chanda works full-time as a cafeteria manager for Dickinson Independent School District.  Her son, Devon, is a senior in high school and he works at the Kemah Boardwalk. The family lives in an unsafe apartment complex where drug dealers openly operate.  Chanda does not allow her children to play outside and is looking forward to owning a home with a backyard for her children.   

Reiley Family

Regina Reiley, a single mother lived in a garage apartment inLa Porte, before moving into her Habitat for Humanity home. The apartment was infested with black mold and termites. “ I will finally be able to say I can go home, and it will not be someone else’s house I am paying monthly rent to. Today Regina Reiley remains active with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering frequently at the La Porte Habitat worksite and attending functions.