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Chantelle’s Story

By January 20, 2020January 31st, 2020No Comments

Chantelle and her daughters Zhyion (8), Aamani (11) and Chank’cia (14) at their Home Dedication last September.

Every family deserves a stable home.

Chantelle is a mom who deserves that stable home. She works hard and has a good job at Lee Memorial Hospital. As a single mother of three young girls, money was tight, and homeownership was out of her reach.

A limited income is a serious challenge for finding decent, affordable housing for many families in Southwest Florida. Chantelle and her girls were limited to a small, rundown apartment. The family of four shared one bathroom, a single closet, and two tiny bedrooms with twin-sized beds. Further complicating matters, their landlord refused to make basic repairs—while the cost of their rent skyrocketed.

The tipping point: their apartment’s ceiling began to crack from the weight of raccoons nesting in their damaged roof. When the landlord refused to help, Chantelle knew she had to get her girls out of that apartment.

Years earlier, she had applied for the affordable homeownership program provided by Habitat. But the enormous demand for affordable homes in Southwest Florida means that Habitat can only serve 1 of every 7 applicants.

“I never saw myself in a home,” said Chantelle about what had become her view of her journey with Habitat for Humanity.  “I had been on the waiting list for 3 years, and I thought maybe I need to look for a different apartment.”  Nevertheless, her faith was persistent.

“I kept a copy of Jeremiah 29:11 in my locker at work, which talks about God’s plans for us, and I’d read it every day.”  Then in February of 2019, Chantelle received the phone call she’d awaited so patiently and prayed so hard for—she and her girls had been accepted into Habitat’s homeownership program. “I told my girls, God has a home for us, he has a home for us.” In the following months, Chantelle completed her sweat equity, attended educational courses, and paid $1,700 towards the closing costs.

Then in September 2019, just a few weeks after Chantelle’s girls started the new school year, they moved into their Habitat home. For Chantelle, the home brings a sense of personal and economic security. But for the girls, it has created a stable environment allowing them to thrive academically and enjoy their youth. Doesn’t every family deserve that?

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties’ staff and Board of Directors at the wall raising for Chantelle’s home in March of 2019.