Michelle and Jason
After living in their trailer for nearly seven years, Michelle and Jason will soon be living a dream come true. As one of Habitat for Humanity of South Central Minnesota’s named partner families, accepted June 1, a home dedication for the two and their four children will be taking place early this coming spring.
Reoccurring mold has impacted the family especially their young twin girls, Rachel and Nicole, 5, have been diagnosed with asthma. Three years ago, Michelle’s kids were getting sick all the time. “God was telling me it was time to get my butt in gear,” she says.
When Michelle first came into the Habitat office, however, she had some other hurdles to overcome before we were able to partner with her in providing a better home for her family. Michelle and Jason had bad credit so the first task was rebuilding that. Their poor credit was preventing them from moving. Habitat has also worked with the family in creating budgeting plans as well as other methods of preparing the couple for first time home ownership.
Michelle and Jason were instantly placed at the top of the priority list. Michelle is ecstatic about the opportunity her family has been blessed with. Through teary eyes, she recognizes the “opportunity she has been given for change and to bettering the life of her family. The stress of affording shoes for my children has been lifted”.
Native of Sudan, Nyanchiew (Nán-chú) Kuany and her family moved to Mankato in 2008 in search of a better place to live for their family and more specifically for their disabled son. First arriving in Mankato, Kuany and her family found it difficult to find affordable housing. They were able to move into transitional housing that was limited to two years
In January of 2009, Kuany suddenly found herself a single parent providing for her five children. A tragic car accident left her a widow after her husband was killed in the accident. Her son was also in the car and was severely injured. Kuany started working in the summer of 2009. She found it difficult to feel comfortable leaving her children at home while she was at work. She would often work overnights to provide for her family.
After a year of residing in Mankato, Kuany heard of the opportunity from friends at her church of what a Habitat home could provide. Because of the rumors about Habitat and the difficult application process, she was hesitant about applying. Kuany soon found out that Habitat makes it easy to apply for a home.
“You know your friends will tell you about good things, because they love you and want the best for you,” said Kuany.
In the beginning stages of construction, Kuany was very apprehensive about being involved in assisting with the manual labor. Now, she is comfortable enough to be on the roof hammering on her own shingles. She has volunteered numerous hours on Habitat related activities such as putting in 50 hours of work at the Restore and helping organize a potluck. Nyanchiew also made a traditional Sudanese dish to share with the Care-a-Vanners during their stay in Mankato.
With all of the constant moving from place to place and changing schools numerous times, the children will soon have a sense of security in their new home. Kuany expresses that she will feel comfortable leaving her family when needed and not having to be concerned with their safety.
The family’s home is currently still under construction. The interior will be worked on over the winter months. The move-in date for Kuany and her family is set for spring 2012.
It was because of Kuany’s determination to keep moving forward that she is in the process of helping build her home. The Kuany children are thankful for Habitat and will be able to have a place to play and call home. “I got my dream because I have Habitat,” said Nyanchiew.
Homeowners Hope Corner
What was life like before being accepted into the Habitat program?
I had little to no hope of ever being able to have a place to call home. I remember my son and I playing in the yard of my current apartment complex, as I watched my son kick his little soccer ball around and ask me “mom can I play outside, “I wanted to burst into tears thinking about the possibility that my son would never have a yard to play in as he grew, or a place to learn to ride a bike. My heart broke thinking about him wanting to have friends over when he’s older and the thought of him having to bring his friends over to an apartment made me so sad. I had a lot of things going for me and my little family but I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to own my own home, let alone build my home.
We never knew what to expect in the future. We didn’t know if we would ever live in one place or keep moving around. The future was uncertain in terms of housing.
No doubt there is a great difference between the renter and homeowner, before we were accepted into the habitat program; we were like normal renters. Who don’t know where and when will be their next move if the landlord asks to move out. ON the other hand it is like a temporary life of moving from place to place which can be result to end up homeless or not finding appropriate home for your family as it happened to us many times.
Stressful. We were looking for a house we could afford, but yet be spacious enough for the whole family. It was overwhelming because of months searching, all we were coming up with was $1200 month payments.
Jen: It was uncertain what the future would bring, if we were going to be able to all live together, and start a new life under one roof. This stability was always in question before Habitat.
How will homeownership change your future?
Homeownership will change my future by giving my son and I a safe place to land. Homeownership will teach me what it means to stand on my own as well as provide me with incentive to keep pushing on. Homeownership will also teach me what it takes to maintain a house and a property. Homeownership will give my son a place to call home for always, a place for him to grow up, a place for me to grow old, and a place to make memories.
I know that my family will not have to move around, we could have one place to call home. It make the future look good.
It will change a lot. Having your own home is like transitional process from temporary housing into permanent housing where you will end up the rest of your life.
We will have a stable environment for us and the kids. We will be financially above water, so we will have money for school clothes, sporting events, etc.
Jen: It will help our family be one family. To have a place the kids can call home, and we can all live under the same roof and build memories together.