When Laura moved to Bloomington with her family in the summer of 2019, she couldn’t have anticipated the events that would soon follow. Between losing her father to a sickness shortly after they arrived, to the global pandemic that shut down most aspects of her life, Laura has remained persistent in her search for better opportunities for her children, Zoe (12) and Erick (6), and her mother, Juana.
In 2021, Laura learned about the Habitat for Humanity program through some of her and her brother’s friends, who had purchased their home through the Habitat program several years ago. “When I talked about applying, a lot of people told us the process was very complicated, and that we probably wouldn’t be approved because of our credit and other financial history. So when our application was approved, it felt like we had met a challenge. We’re glad we could show that it can be done, and that there are opportunities for families like mine.”
The family currently lives in a comfortable apartment, but the high rent and disruptive neighbors create additional difficulties. A nefarious smell often wafts from nearby neighbors, especially through the bathroom exhaust and in to the basement where Laura’s room is located. She has concerns over the long-term health effects for her children, and looks forward to living somewhere that no longer shares walls with other households.
In early 2023, the family will break ground on their forever home. “The kids can’t wait to have their own rooms and to play at the park nearby. My kids are very active – they love to play with our dogs, bike, skate, and jump around.” Laura even shared that they already frequent the park that will soon be in their backyard, and the kids can’t wait.
Juana shared that she and her daughter have learned a lot during their time in the Habitat program. “They [the crew leaders] taught us how to work. I want to share my thanks to all of other volunteers for teaching me things like hammering a nail or filling a hole. These were all new things for me, but I learned that I could do them with their help and supervision.”
Laura shared her mother’s sentiments, and added that the classes and budget partner have also been extremely helpful. “We have learned lots of ways to manage our money that we just didn’t know before,” Laura said.
Like many families, Laura explained that there are many important things vying for her time – her work at a local daycare, her kids and their commitments, spending time with extended family, and earning sweat equity through the Habitat program. Luckily, her mother is often able to help with childcare when needed. “We plan our schedules in a lot of detail to help manage our time the best, and make sure we meet all of our commitments.”
“I want to give thanks to everyone who has given me the opportunity to feel relaxed, and know that soon this home we are building will be our own. The kids are really excited to have their own rooms and to enjoy the park next door. We want to enjoy the entire process of building, to savor in it. Just to have this home is a huge satisfaction. We look forward to having this for my family forever. Thank you for making this possible.”
Laura’s home is generously sponsored by Everesting For Habitat, and the 2021 Rotary Toast in honor of Charlotte Zietlow.