“There is no coincidence that stability brings success, and success brings stability.” – Robert Green
When Maria applied to the Habitat program in 2019, she was in search of a stable place to live with her children Joselyn (13), Luis (11), and Juanito (10). A place with enough space for them to grow and where they could enjoy their hobbies of cooking together, playing soccer, swimming, and spending time with family, without the inevitable move that typically comes at the end of an apartment lease.
This fall, the family will begin to lay more permanent roots as construction begins on their future home in Habitat’s Osage Place neighborhood. This build will be the twelfth partnership build with the Whirlpool Corporation and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Over the course of about a month, hundreds of students, staff, faculty, and alumni from the Kelley School will join volunteers and executives from Whirlpool to raise walls alongside Maria.
“One of the dreams of my children is to have their own home, to have their own space,” Magno-Perez said. “I like to be outside and I look forward to having a little table and being able to hang out with friends and family on my new porch and not be shut in, like I would be in an apartment.”
Maria works multiple jobs cleaning houses and for a local remodeling company, so time at home with her children is precious. Their family currently rents a costly apartment where the landlord is often slow to make needed repairs. For example, this summer it took four days for building management to respond to a leaking air conditioner system. They provided fans to dry out the water damage left behind, leaving her with a $300 electric bill to deal with later.
Each home in Maria’s future Habitat neighborhood has a special focus on energy efficiency and is being built to net-zero energy capability – including being solar ready. As part of the BuildBetter with Whirlpool initiative, Maria’s future home will include energy efficient features to mitigate effects of climate change. It includes high efficiency heating and cooling, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, and even solar panels.
Maria shared her high rent and utility bills harms her family economically, and it is one of the reasons she has to work so much. Living in her own home – especially an energy efficient home – will make a significant impact on her life, her finances, and her future time spent with her children.
In addition to her time on the construction site and ReStore, Maria expressed how helpful the homeowner education classes have been. Each adult in the family takes nearly 30 hours of classes that teach important skills related to money management, how to be a good neighbor, communicating in the professional world, and home maintenance.
“They taught me how to manage our money, our homes, and general maintenance. That is of great use for now and always,” Maria said. “Knowing that I will have the commitment to have and take care of a house is a reason for motivation for me and my family.”
“Sharing time with other people in the program is something I enjoy. I’ve had [many] very good moments with Habitat, between them offering my lot, to learning how to build a house from the beginning to its end. It has been helpful to work with and learn from other Habitat volunteers and staff.”
Maria’s home is sponsored by the Whirlpool Corporation, in partnership with the Kelley School of Business.