The Journey Begins

July 16th, 2013

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Congratulations to Kristina Alvarez and her family on their acceptance into our program! They recently received this wonderful news and could not be more thrilled about the opportunity to move into a stable environment and build a better future.

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.”

From Apartment Renter to Home Owner: Fully Paid Mortgage

June 17th, 2013

 CantuFamiliyThis past week, the Cantu family made their last mortgage payment! They have never missed a payment since moving into their Habitat home in 1998. Before they came to BAHFH, they were renting an apartment. They struggled with space as well as finances. The apartment was too small to accommodate their large family Juan, his wife, San Juanita, and their five children. When they were informed they qualified for a house, they were overjoyed and immediately began the necessary preparations.
Through the financial literacy courses Habitat for Humanity offers, the family learned better ways to save money and have been able to save a lot since then. Since moving into their Habitat home, Juan received a raise in his new job as a pipe feeder for PWS.  As they continued to make payments for their home over the years, they decided to save up and buy a new home. Today living in their new home, they continue to apply the same principles they learned during their time partnering with Habitat.
By experiencing the construction of their house first hand they were able to learn about home maintenance so that they could take care of their home after it was built. Using their construction knowledge, they were able to build a deck and put in tile for their new home. San Juanita also planted an exquisite garden, something that she would not have been able to do living in an apartment. It brings her great joy to be able to provide fresh produce for her family and even save on grocery expenses as a result!
Even now, fourteen years later, San Juanita can remember the joy she felt receiving her first home as if it was yesterday. She is so grateful for the opportunity to raise her children in a safe and loving environment that an apartment couldn’t provide. She continues to thank God and the Habitat for Humanity volunteers for all of the blessings and opportunities she has received since then.

Changing the World One Woman at a Time

June 3rd, 2013

Every year, Habitat for Humanity and our partner Lowe’s sponsors an event called Women Build. Since the program started in 1991, Women Build has already built more than 1,600 houses within the US and in dozens of other countries. Women Build teams typically build more than 200 Habitat for Humanity homes per year.

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                Although 50 percent of the volunteer force for the Habitat for Humanity are women, many of them lack the training or skills to be on the construction site. As a result only 15 percent of the volunteers on construction sites are women. With Women Build, Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s train women with the skills necessary to be active on the construction sites and care for their own homes. It has proven to be an empowering build for women across the globe. For example, in India women were seen building homes for Habitat for Humanity and inspired local women to be independent, innovative, and to learn about ways to help their community as well and break free of the cultural stereotypes of women, capturing the true meaning of Women Build. (Jordan, P. (2010, March 12). Changing Perceptions. Habitat.org. Retrieved June 3, 2013 from, http://www.habitat.org/sites/default/files/wb_changing_perceptions_india.pdf.)

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                On April 21, 2013, Bay Area Habitat for Humanity began its fifth annual Women Build project with a 5k walk/run with 250 men and women participating. Through this amazing effort, they raised $45,000. For the next 12 Saturdays, 370 women and 170 men worked to build a home for Dionne Kelly. The construction rate reached an all-time high during National Women Build Week, May 4-11, 2013. During National Women Build Week, 55 women volunteered and worked hard to make the dream house a reality for Dionne. Dionne is a single mother of two children, Tristen who is seven and Ahrianna who is four. She is the supervisor for the patient advocacy department at a medical building company and lived in a two bedroom apartment with her son and daughter before the Habitat for Humanity home. The house that she partnered with us to work for has not only given her the opportunity to learn about construction and how to upkeep her own home but also the opportunity to put her earnings into an investment for her children. As a single mom, she wants to offer something to her children if something were to happen to her.

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                Seventy-nine percent of the recipients for Bay Area Habitat homes are single moms. Over the past five years every Women Build house has gone to a single mother. These statistics stress how important Women Build is to educate women in the basic techniques of construction so they can learn to care for themselves and their children through a well-kept home. The program has a promising future as it continues to assist and educate women about eliminating local low-income housing and poverty housing to better communities.