“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” –Coretta Scott King
Montserrat (Monsay) Lopez-Aca cannot wait to own her own home and for the peace of mind that having a place to plant roots in the community will bring for she and her three children, Maximiliano (age six), Genesis (age five) and Luis Octavio Jr. (age three). Monsay moved to the United States from Puebla, Mexico when she was five years old and after living a few different places throughout her life, loves calling Bloomington her permanent home. “I have lived across the country and state,” she shares, “but Bloomington is where my family is and I love the schools and education my children are receiving here.”
The four of them currently live in a crowded apartment with limited outdoor space and constant, unsettling noise. “Being a single mom makes moving regularly a challenge both mentally and physically,” she shares. “I will be so glad once we are settled for good, the kids can stay in the same school and with their friends and when I can have a yard for them to play and relax in that feels safe.”
The yard is something the entire family is looking forward to. All three children love playing outside riding bikes and scooters and they spend most weekends at the park, visiting the zoo or attending outdoor events. Maximiliano is a budding artist, Genesis enjoys playing with stuffed animals and Luis Jr. is a huge paw patrol fan and wants to be a police officer when he grows up—both Genesis and Luis Jr. are hoping for a puppy once the family settles in to “keep them company when they’re running around.”
Monsay applied to the Habitat program because she has seen the impact homeownership has had on friends and family in her life and because she loves the idea that she would be working alongside people in the community in classes and on the build site. “When a community comes together and people help each other major things can be accomplished,” she said. “It is amazing to me how many people volunteer to help people pursue their dream of homeownership and I am excited to be part of that.”
She has really enjoyed her time in the Habitat program and specifically volunteering at the ReStore, assisting in the office with interpreting and being involved on the construction site. “I have met so many people during my time in the program—many who I now call friends,” she said. “I know I can rely on them to help me if I ever need it, and they can also rely on me as well.”
Monsay is most excited by the stability owning her own home and not having to worry continually about the anxiety of a lease ending, her rent being raised or having to pack everything up and move forcing her kids to settle into another new environment. “Owning my own home will bring so much joy to our lives—not only the house itself, but the pride of knowing all of this has been possible because of hard work and not giving up,” she shared.
“I am building a future for my children alongside a loving community of people with caring hearts who wanted to help me.”
Decent, affordable housing doesn’t always look like new construction and at times Habitat has the opportunity to house a family in a home previously owned by another Habitat family at approximately a quarter of the cost of new construction. This allows us to serve people in our program more quickly. Monsay is excited to be moving into such a home on Red Rock Avenue.
The Lopez-Aca family home is sponsored by the Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County ReStore.