Over the last year, we at Habitat have seen many families persevere through countless challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals who have had to dig deeper, work harder, and rise higher in order to make their dreams of homeownership a reality. People like Moulay and Imane, who want nothing more than to provide their children with the safety and stability that comes with owning a decent and affordable home.
Of course, these families are no strangers to determination and perseverance. Living in inadequate rentals that aren’t even remotely affordable teaches people a thing or two about survival.
When it comes to their eight-year-old son, Adam, and their three-year-old daughter, Fatima, Moulay and Imane have learned that stability is everything. Especially because Fatima is wheelchair-bound, ventilator dependent, reliant on feeding tubes, and immunocompromised.
Moulay and Imane have always worked hard to provide their children with a stable home – a sense of normalcy. Despite their inability to purchase a home of their own, they remained good tenants, and managed to stay in the same apartment for several years.
For a time, they persevered.
That is, until a sudden change in ownership forced them to pack up and move unexpectedly. Not surprisingly, having their stability uprooted ignited their inherent determination. No more could they rely on chance – their children needed a dependable home, and they intended to provide it.
Partnering with Habitat gave Moulay and Imane the opportunity to build the home their children deserve. They got their finances in order, committed themselves to 300 hours of sweat equity, and began saving the money needed for a down payment. Before long, they were approved for homeownership, and soon they would own a home.
There was no doubt in their minds – they would persevere.
Then, COVID-19 happened, and Moulay was furloughed from work. Without his steady income, they had no choice but to put the homebuying process on hold.
Two months went by before Moulay could return to work. Then another two months before he could provide proof of his reacquired income. Unfortunately, during those long, four months, the lease on their apartment ended.
Knowing that they’d be moving into their new Habitat home in just a few months, Moulay and Imane asked for a month-to-month lease, to which the landlord agreed. However, Moulay and Imane were eventually asked to sign another year-long lease after Moulay told the landlord he would not allow prospective renters into his home – he would not risk his daughter’s health during a pandemic.
Despite the lost income, despite the extra costs they had to put into their apartment, and despite the danger that the pandemic posed for their children, Moulay and Imane achieved their dream of homeownership.
“We were patient, we said lots of prayers, we stayed the course,” Moulay says of his experience.
Of course, what he means to say is this:
Local families are already giving so much of themselves just to survive. They’re struggling to afford rent, to pay for nutritious foods, and to keep up with necessary healthcare costs. Now, consider the job losses, the added medical bills, and the increased need for a safe and decent place to shelter created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
No matter how strong a person’s determination may be, perseverance is never guaranteed.