“When Teresa and I were first married, I had steady work with good pay,” said Air Force Veteran and Habitat homebuyer, Mark Williams. “I thought that I only had to work hard and save money, and I could own a home to raise my children in.”
After years of military service, Mark was looking forward to settling down, raising a family, and building a future. With stable employment as an electronics technician, Mark and Teresa enjoyed a decent life—they were happy.
However, their stability, their happiness, wouldn’t last.
While pregnant with the couple’s second child, Teresa had a terrible accident. Walking down a flight of stairs, she slipped and fell violently to the bottom. By the grace of God, the baby was unharmed, but Teresa had crushed her L1 and L2 vertebrates. She was incapacitated for many months, resulting in extensive medical bills that eroded the family’s modest savings.
As Teresa recovered from her injuries, Mark did everything he could to provide a sense of stability for his young family. On top of working full-time, he cooked, cleaned, and changed diapers—sure, it was a struggle, but they were going to be okay.
Then, Mark received the news—the job he had worked for eight years was being outsourced. “When the machine I operated broke, the company said it was cheaper to outsource than fix, so I was laid off.”
The following years were plagued with personal and financial instability. Mark worked several low-wage jobs, the family bounced from one rental to the next, the children were continually changing schools, and the family lived in a motel for six months—before finally being accepted for section 8 voucher housing.
Though they had a roof over their heads, Mark and Teresa wanted a better life for their children. “We would find people’s trash in our yard—often drug baggies and fast food cups. There was a shooting a few weeks ago, and car stereos shake our apartment at night.”
Mark knew he had to get his family out of that situation.
“I learned of Habitat by seeing a video of Jimmy Carter working on a home, I respected that—I had no idea how the program worked, but I thought it was pretty cool they were helping people with housing,” he said.
Shortly thereafter, Mark began volunteering with Habitat, quickly establishing himself as a skilled and dedicated worker. “Mark, he was on point for everything,” said Habitat’s Warehouse Manager, Carlos Perez. “He was very professional, worked hard, and did everything he was asked.”
In 2017, when a full-time position in Habitat’s Warehouse opened, Carlos knew Mark would be the perfect fit, eagerly bringing him on board. “Working at Habitat is the best thing I’ve ever done. I look forward to going to work every day, and I’ve never had that before,” raved Mark.
After a few years of working at Habitat, Mark decided to apply for the affordable homeownership program. With a safe, decent, and affordable home—Mark and Teresa could begin rebuilding the stability they once had.
Upon completing their application, they were selected for Habitat’s program. “I couldn’t believe it when we were selected. We were just so hungry for stability; we all pitched in and completed our sweat equity hours really quickly.”
Then, in April of 2020, less than a year after beginning their journey to homeownership, Mark and Teresa signed the closing documents to purchase their new home with an affordable mortgage.
“When we got to the house, my daughter looked at me and said, Dad, this place is beautiful. And I’ve got the American flag flying out front because we really are living the American dream.”
At Habitat for Humanity, we believe in serving those who serve our community. We encourage all essential public personnel, healthcare workers, and military families to learn more about our affordable homeownership program by visiting habitat4humanity.org/apply.