Both Julia Hidalgo and her partner, Rodolfo Hernandez, came separately to the United States from large metropolitan cities in central Mexico. They met as neighbors six years ago in Bloomington, fell in love, and now work side by side as cooks at Chili’s. Staggered shifts enable them to care for their one-year-old daughter Ximena without the aid of daycare.
Julia’s sixteen-year-old son, César, helps too. As he approaches his senior year in high school, he is eager to leave behind the family’s two-bedroom eastside apartment for a two-story townhouse in Habitat’s Trail View neighborhood. The downtown paired home comes ready-made with “friends his age,” says Julia, and “three bedrooms with a [separate] room for all of us.” Only Hercules, Ximena’s miniature Chihuahua and constant running mate, will have to share space.
Until the family purchases its home this winter, Julia and Rodolfo will continue to spend their Thursdays building others’ Habitat homes. “There are amazing people at Habitat,” Julia insists. “They’re some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met! We are just so grateful to Habitat that we are where we are today … we want to own our own home too.”
The Hernandez-Hidalgo House is sponsored by Homeowner Mortgage Payments