Like many Habitat homebuyers, Sherri’s journey to homeownership was fraught with challenges and uncertainty. As a single mother of three children, she worked hard to provide her family with a decent life. However, with bills piling up, the rent increasing, and her teacher’s salary remaining stagnant—it simply became too much handle.
Bouts of homelessness, visits to local shelters, and general instability filled the following years. Eventually, Sherri and her children were approved for section 8 voucher housing, and though they had a roof over their heads—it was far from ideal for raising a family.
“We were living in a dangerous environment where random shootings were common, and our apartment was infested with roaches and mice,” She explained.
Sherri wanted to provide her children with opportunities to thrive, and she understood that doing so required a stable living environment.
“I had heard of Habitat from someone I knew, and I was motivated to apply because my kids needed a clean, safe place to live.”
Once approved, Sherri quickly completed her 300 sweat equity hours, attended the mandatory educational courses, and began saving for the $1,700 closing cost payment. Then, in July 2016, Sherri signed the closing documents to purchase her new Habitat home.
“Closing on my home, it felt surreal…It was our best dream ever coming true!”
As a proud homeowner, Sherri invested time and money to improve her property. She has planted a vegetable garden, painted her fence, built a fire pit, and even extended her lanai. In addition to improved material conditions, her children were performing better in school and enjoying a life removed from the stresses of housing instability.
“Being in our new home, things felt perfect. We were stable and happy.”
However, their stability, their happiness, were soon to be tested.
As the COVID-19 pandemic ran its course, many Americans faced grave health concerns and even more suffered from the ensuing economic fallout. When Sherri lost her teaching job, she was unsure of the future.
“I was really concerned about finding a new job during the pandemic, but I tried not to think about it. I just focused on the goal at hand and worked to achieve it.”
Undoubtedly, Sherri is a fighter, and the affordable Habitat mortgage empowered her to save for an emergency. Using those savings, she weathered the storm and searched for new employment. Eventually, landing a job delivering pizzas for Domino’s and between her savings and the new source of income—Sherri has not missed a single mortgage payment.
“I was able to keep paying my mortgage by working and praying.”
Through it all, Sherri is quick to center faith and affordable homeownership as the foundation for her family’s stability.
“I always ask God to protect us, and because I believed in God, it meant the same to have a home, pandemic or not. But I am extremely grateful that we have a safe, clean, and protected place where my kids feel stable.”
Asked what she would tell someone considering applying for Habitat’s affordable homeownership program, Sherri said, “I would tell them it’s one of the best things they could do for their family and not to give up even if they are ineligible at the beginning…Keep working to become eligible. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.”