Lillian’s home was sponsored by FineMark National Bank & Trust through their $1 million pledge to Habitat. Over the next three years, a total of six homes will be built thanks to their support.
When Lillian first walked through Habitat’s doors last year, she was determined to change her living situation permanently. Lillian has lived in a HUD/Senior Housing apartment for the past ten years. Now 73 years old, the one-bedroom, 600-square-foot space has affected her quality of life. As a result of her cramped living conditions, Lillian was ready to partner with Habitat and was accepted into the program last May.
“God gave me the dream [of homeownership] because I never thought it was possible; I don’t even know if I had the plan or the intention,” Lillian shared. “I thought I would die in a little old folks home. I’m not gonna die in that old folks home anymore!”
Lillian had a stable, full-time job working at Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel. After Hurricane Ian hit, Bailey’s was destroyed, and Lillian had to look for a new job to continue in the program. Regardless, she persevered. Lillian worked one-on-one with a Housing Advisor to ensure she had a financial plan to stay qualified for her mortgage while job hunting, even when our Administrative Office was operating out of our Warehouse.
Not only did Lillian quickly find a new job, but she continued—without missing a beat—to complete her 300 hours of sweat equity, proving that no matter your age, you can achieve anything when you have a dream and put your mind to it. And on March 10th, dozens gathered to celebrate Lillian’s journey to homeownership at her home dedication to see her dream become a reality.
“I got a fresh start on so many levels,” Lillian shared, radiating joy from her home dedication. “I’ve got new neighbors, I’ve got a new neighborhood, I’ve got a new spirit, and like Patti [LaBelle] used to say, I’ve got a new attitude.”
Thank you to our home sponsor, FineMark National Bank & Trust, for helping Lillian and five additional families achieve their dream of homeownership over the next three years through your $1 million pledge to Habitat. Additionally, we are grateful for the staff from FineMark who volunteered to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Lillian to raise the walls of her home!