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Unlocking Opportunities: Da’Rial’s Journey to Homeownership

When you ask Da’Rial what parts of her home she appreciates the most, she will tell you, “I appreciate the whole thing. I painted the inside of my house and raised the walls of my house,” Da’Rial says. “So I love every part of it.”

Before purchasing her home, Da’Rial lived with her family in an overcrowded two-bedroom, one-bathroom house because of the high cost of rent in Lee County. Trying to keep expenses low and sleeping on the sofa led to many restless nights and a limited quality of life.

Da’Rial and Tampa Bay Lightning volunteers raise the walls of her home in the summer heat.

In August 2023, change was on the horizon when Da’Rial worked shoulder-to-shoulder with volunteers from the Tampa Bay Lightning to raise the walls of her home in Habitat’s Journey Together neighborhood. “That day that we picked those walls up was the hottest day out there,” Da’Rial remembers. Nevertheless, she persisted

Through her partnership with Habitat, she contributed 300 hours of sweat equity, completed more than 20 hours of homeownership classes and paid $2,000 in closing costs to make her dream a reality. Five months later, Da’Rial purchased her home through Habitat with a mortgage payment set at no more than 30 percent of her income.

In August, her house was just a concrete slab and a wood frame. Since then, she has transformed that house into a home, decorating it with personalized touches, including framed photos of her family and more than a dozen pillows on the couch – one of which reads “homebody.”

Da’Rial proudly showcases the cozy corners and personal touches that make her house feel like home.

Da’Rial is not only enjoying her new space, but also building connections with her neighbors through their shared experience with Habitat. “The environment itself is amazing, and the people are amazing,” she shares. “I feel at home. Everybody that lives next to me, even the people that don’t live right by me, everybody’s super nice.”

As Da’Rial settles into her new home, she looks forward to a bright future. “I have a lot of goals,” Da’Rial expressed. “[One] goal is to own my own business. For me and my mom – basically like a family business.”

And after everything she’s accomplished, Da’Rial believes, “If you can pick up those heavy walls, then you can do anything.”

You can help families like Da’Rial’s achieve their dreams by donating securely online today.