Stephanie is a hard working mom with nine-year-old twins, a boy and girl, who she says keep her very busy.
Despite the fact that she has worked at the Virginia Eye Institute for 22 years, the financial hardship of being a single mother to her twins and working with partial blindness caused Stephanie to become homeless in February of 2012. She was quickly able to enter HomeAgain’s Transitional Housing Program (which has since been replaced by the Housing-First Principle and Rapid Re-housing), where she received the services needed to find a home for her family. She spent 4 months in the transitional program before moving into one of HomeAgain’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units.
In order to be eligible for this PSH program, the head of household must have a diagnosed disability and qualify under HUD’S definition of chronically homeless.
Permanent Supportive Housing Program Manager, at the Espigh Family Shelter, Karen Roane, explained, “Stephanie has always worked hard and just needed a hand up to provide housing for her and her children. She was a little hesitant when I introduced the idea of home ownership through Habitat, but once she was approved I was very excited for her.”
Karen went on to share, “Stephanie has overcome many challenges in her life, but has always remained positive. She provides an excellent example for anyone who has faced homelessness and has relied on her faith to see her through some challenging times.”
Stephanie is quite excited to have been chosen for home ownership through this program and is grateful for her journey. “Though it’s a hardship, it’s not an ending; it’s a beginning,” she said.
She went on to add, “When life deals you a lemon, you just don’t always know where to go. HomeAgain is an excellent program. It gave me a safety net.”
Now that a home will be constructed specifically for her family, Stephanie is overwhelmed. “It means everything to me… a fresh start.” She explained, “It may seem difficult, but it’s a brighter day ahead, like with this house- wow! I would have never thought this was a possibility. God is amazing.”
Participants in Habitat’s program are required to perform 350 “Sweat Equity” hours, which Stephanie is currently working towards by attending classes and budgeting meetings. Because of her visual impairment, she is not able to work on build sites or in Habitat’s ReStore.
HomeAgain needs volunteers to help her complete her sweat equity hours! Interested parties should contact Karen Roane at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 647-1346 for volunteer information.
Stephanie’s family was selected for this opportunity based on Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program requirements that the applicant’s living situation meet one of the following conditions:
- Unsafe or very poor conditions or located in a particularly unsafe area;
- Rent (or contribution currently paid towards rent) exceeds 35% of net income;
- Size in inadequate for the present or anticipated residents;
- Other facts demonstrating a need for the type of housing Habitat can provide, that goes beyond a personal desire to own a home.