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Jawaan

This is the story of Jawaan and her family.

When Jawaan applied to become a Habitat homeowner, she brought her faith in God, her favorite motto (“Teamwork makes the dream work!”), a lot of energy and hope, and a few wishes. She wished that she and her four children could live in a safe, affordable home, away from unpredictable rent hikes and moves. She wished to continue her employment and to take more college classes, and maybe even to own her own business one day. Jawaan’s sons wished for more space and stability, and her daughter wished for her own bedroom for the first time in her 15 years of life.

Jawaan closed on her own Habitat home just days after her birthday and she says ALL her wishes are coming true! Thank you for partnering with Habitat Kent and families like Jawaan’s to help them pursue their dreams.

Mazarah & Sofia

This is the story of Mazarah and Sofia.

In 2016, they came to Michigan with their three children as refugees after fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo followed by intense experiences with xenophobia in South Africa.

Bethany Christian Services helped them settle and learn the many things needed to adjust to radically different lives. Now Mazarah is a skilled tile installer, and Sofia works in packaging for a local manufacturing company.

“Now we will own our own house, an American dream house! It’s such a big change, and everything is happy,” says Mazarah. “No more change,” adds Sofia.

Sofia has a friend who is a Habitat homeowner who encouraged them to apply for this program. Mazarah has found that the sweat equity part of the program is “lovely, and happy” and he’s proud of the carpentry and painting work he’s been doing.

Their family was blessed with a fourth child two years ago.  Alamasi, Magie, Deborah, and little Sarah are active, happy kids, and their parents hope that their lives will be “lucky” and “full of learning.”

“Now they can live with peace…and freedom too,” say both proud parents.

“Grand Rapids has lots of love,” says Mazarah. “And love leads the world.” Thank you for being a part of that culture of love and generosity. Together, we are changing lives!

Strong Futures

In the past year, Dini and Mansura have been surprised how their house transformed from just a plot of land to the beautiful home it is today. Their home was built in partnership with students from Grand Rapids Community College’s M-TEC Program. Since 2005, GRCC students have helped Habitat Kent build 33 homes. GRCC President Bill Pink attended the home dedication and handed Dini the keys to their new home.

“Our students are thrilled to do this kind of work because it gives them real-world experience and it also gives them that taste of actually seeing how their work brings about such good joy for families,” President Pink said.

“As we do well for others we do well for the whole community.”

Dini and Mansura have been living in a small apartment that seems to get smaller every day. Their son Nuredin (3) and daughter Amira (1) share the same cramped room and the apartment doesn’t provide enough space for them to play.

Dini and Mansura planned to purchase a home for their growing family but they were unable to qualify for a traditional mortgage. They were seeking a permanent housing solution when a family member told them to visit Habitat Kent.

“We had a plan but we didn’t think we’d get this opportunity in this short of a time,” Dini said.

They explained that because of the homeownership education courses Habitat Kent offers, their family is equipped to maintain their home for the future. Now Dini and Mansura have new plans for their future, including finishing the basement, preparing their children for school, and furthering their education to grow in their careers.

“I never imagined this,” Dini said about the Habitat experience, especially relating to sharing cultures with volunteers, donors, and staff members. Dini said he was humbled by the people who have donated their time and money to help someone they’ve never met.

“No matter who they are [Habitat volunteers] are helping everybody regardless of their background.”

Because of you, Dini and Mansura have a healthy, stable, and affordable home where their family can and plan for a bright future.

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Confidence

Building a Habitat Kent home takes more than timber, cement, and vinyl. It takes a homebuyer willing to believe that they can accomplish more. Therese took on the challenge of building and purchasing a new Habitat Kent home in the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood.

Her hard work will provide a bright future for her three daughters Aline (15), Nina (11), and Helene (5).

She heard about the homeownership program from her friend, Desire, who is a Habitat Kent homebuyer also living in Roosevelt Park. She previously had been renting a cramped apartment with little space for her growing daughters to play. After being unable to qualify for a traditional mortgage, Therese decided to apply to the Habitat Kent homeownership program.

The process was daunting at times for Therese. She had to earn sweat equity hours while working full time, parenting her daughters, and taking classes at Grand Rapids Community College.

Thankfully, Therese had friends to support her, including Frida, who lives across the street from her new home. She said going through the homeownership program pushed her and built her confidence in the skills she learned, including home maintenance and budget management. As the most recent Habitat Kent Women Build, more than 200 women joined Therese in building her new home where she and her daughters can thrive.

“I thank God that I’m done,” Therese said. She now can enjoy the home she built for her children, who will have room to grow and play. Because of you, Therese was able to build a confidence in herself to achieve her dream of homeownership.

“If you feel like you can do something—don’t give up. No matter what people say to you, just go forward.”

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Encouragement

The journey to Habitat homeownership takes encouragement and endurance, which ultimately leads to growth and stability. For Floridalma, her first encouragement came from her brother, who is a Habitat homeowner in Guatemala.

“He said that Habitat can help people obtain a home and that our [living conditions] will change if we pursue it,” Floridalma said.

Floridalma, Alex, and their three children have been renting the upper level of a cramped house that provides little relief from the elements during the cold winters and muggy summers. The children have little space to play. Their desire to apply to Habitat Kent’s homeownership program came out of a vision for a brighter future for their children.

“The lives of people are changed after they have their Habitat house and that is about to happen to us,” Floridalma said.

Once they were accepted into the program, Habitat Kent provided them with encouragement to earn sweat equity hours, take educational courses, and help build their new home—all while balancing family and jobs. Alex worked many hours on the build sites and especially enjoyed learning construction skills from site supervisor Bill.

Because of their hard work and commitment their children, Maria (1), Richard (6), and Renifer (10), will have their own rooms, a healthy home, and most importantly—a safe space to play outside.

The family is planning on getting a blow-up pool for children to play in the backyard during the summer. Come fall, Maria, and Richard will be returning to Harrison Park Elementary, now only a few blocks from their new home. Harrison Park is part of the Challenge Scholars program, which offers a pathway for families to cover the costs of technical or collegiate education after high school.

“It is going to help us [build] something secure for the children’s future,” Floridalma said.

Even if you’ve never met Floridalma or Alex, you are a part of their motivation and encouragement. You are part of their brighter future. When asked what stood out about their Habitat experience, Floridalma said, “everyone in this program is united.”

Thank you for sharing your time, talent, and treasure to help Floridalma and Alex build a strong family and a future filled with hope.

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#BelovedCommunity Luncheon

On April 14th, 2018 Habitat Kent volunteers and community members gathered together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Guest speakers, Liz Keegan of the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan and Dr. Fred Johnson III of Hope College, inspired attendees to build Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community. You can view both talks below.

Click here for more information on the Fair Housing Act’s legacy.

 

Liz Keegan-Fair Housing Center of West Michigan 

Dr. Fred Johnson III-Hope College 

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