Whitney ended up in Bloomington “how everyone ends up in Bloomington,” she laughs. Like many others, she found her way here through her studies at Indiana University, and now, Whitney works at the university as an advisor.  

Describing Bloomington as a transient place, Whitney finds joy in the quietude of summers. Her nearly completed home, located on a Habitat lot in the heart of downtown, offers the convenience of walking to work and enjoying all the vibrant aspects that Bloomington has to offer.  

It was this very stroll-friendly setup that led Whitney—quite literally—to stumble upon Habitat during Bloomington PRIDE.  

Intrigued by Habitat’s logo—a house with a family inside—Whitney had questions. “Can a family be one person?” she asked, hoping to qualify for a home as an individual.  “When I heard yes and what it takes, I said, ‘I can do that. I’ll see you all at the Homeowner Information Meeting!’”  

The path to homeownership with Habitat involves three criteria: an ability to pay an affordable mortgage, contributing 250 volunteer hours of “sweat equity,” and demonstrating a need for housing. While Whitney was determined, she had reservations about what a need for housing entailed.  

“There wasn’t—or at least I thought there wasn’t— a lot wrong with my current housing situation,” she reflects, “but that shifted before my eyes during the home interview process.”  

What she initially thought was a functional home revealed underlying issues and landlord neglect. This experience left her in awe, realizing that until you witness these challenges firsthand, it’s easy to overlook damage and negligence and accept everything as the status quo.  

For Whitney, it is this spirit of discovering and learning that has made the Habitat program enjoyable. When asked about her favorite construction task, her immediate response was blocking, which is an installation process that provides additional support and stability to structural components like walls.  

Whitney playfully recounts, “I took all the information I learned about power tools and, by myself, did this task that no one would see but me. It was fun, kind of silly, but mostly exciting. When I hang up my shelving units, that’s when I’ll remember and celebrate.”  

Despite the pleasure Whitney has found in earning sweat equity, her path to homeownership has faced its share of challenges. Although she joined the program in January of 2022 with high hopes, her home construction didn’t commence until October 2023. This delay was primarily caused by exploring a new method of construction, highlighting the complexities and uncertainties often involved in such endeavors. Sometimes, partnerships can encounter challenges, but in this case, it allowed Habitat to stay committed to delivering quality homes.  

Whitney’s advice to others interested in becoming a Habitat homeowner echoes her own journey—”show up, learn as much as you can, and embrace the process.”  

“All of it is fun—especially the ReStore! It’s a giant garage sale all the time. There’s always interesting customers and volunteers to talk to. My second piece of advice to anyone applying to Habitat is if you need it, it’s probably at the ReStore.”  

Whitney’s home is sponsored by the Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County ReStore. ReStore generates revenue by selling donated home improvement and construction materials, furniture, appliances, and other goods at discounted prices to the public. The profits from these sales contribute to funding Habitat projects, including Whitney’s home. Many of Whitney’s nearly 500 sweat equity hours were achieved by volunteering at ReStore, where she likens the experience to a treasure hunt.  

As Whitney eagerly anticipates the completion of her home, it’s a reminder of the transformative power of stepping into the unknown, finding joy in the process, and laughing lots along the way.  

Whitney’s home is sponsored by Habitat for Humanity ReStore.