The stability of home ownership means many things to Anastasia Ochoa, a 28-year-old mother of four, and her husband David, the proud owner-operator of a relatively new tree-trimming business. The low mortgage payments for their Habitat for Humanity home allowed David to start his business and ended the cycle of moving from rental to rental in search of enough space and sanitation to raise a growing family. “Before coming to Habitat, we lived in three different homes,” she says, offering a litany of problems in each place.
What is most meaningful about this home, however, is the opportunities now available to her children. “It’s a better education,” she says. “We get to spend more time with our kids.” She’s thrilled with the school district her family has moved into. “The teachers are so involved with the kids’ education. I’m very happy and proud of where I live, the home that I have,” she says. That pride transitions to gratitude and a desire to pay it forward to Habitat for Humanity.
While both Anastasia and David have completed their sweat equity requirements to move into their home, they each maintain involvement in the organization.
“Now, every chance my husband gets when he’s not working, he volunteers,” she says. David helps build homes for other families, and Anastasia put in most of her sweat equity hours at Habitat’s Restore retail space, where she was eventually hired to work part time. The job helped her through a round of self-described baby blues and gave her a new network of support. “It’s a good vibe,” she says. “I tell my co-workers they’re family. They’re my Habitat family. They’re stuck with us. Ever since we got the home, we’ve been blessed.”
“It’s a great vibe…I tell my co-workers they’re family. They’re my Habitat family. They’re stuck with us. Ever since we got the home, we’ve been blessed.”
– Anastasia Ochoa
In early July, Tammy Perez, Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties first homeowner partner walked into the Habitat office and payed off her home mortgage after 22 years. Her monthly payments became a part of the on-going cycle of funding to support the now more than 61 homeowners who have joined Tammy in our homeownership program.
Tammy spent time with founding board members Bill Decker and Joan Marschall, Habitat staff and past executive director Betsy Murphy, remembering the day she was chosen and the year she spent working on her home. Her most vivid memory is of getting the keys to her home on December 3, 1995, knowing that she would never again need to move her family.
“It’s my house”, Tammy said several times, “and I will never sell it!” She remembers moving from City to City as a child and never finishing a school year in one place. “I didn’t want that life for my 4 children” she said.
Habitat homeowner partners work up to 500 hours of sweat equity on their home or other Habitat projects. When the house is complete, the homeowner then purchases the house from Habitat with a no-profit, no-interest mortgage. Because those mortgage payments are made to Habitat, the staff has a long term relationship with each homeowner and together they work hard to keep homeowners in their home building strength, stability and self-reliance for the entire family.
Becoming a homeowner was a dream come true for Tammy and her 4 children. They were able to stay in one place, build relationships in the community and build a future that included having a place they could come back to. Congratulations Tammy and don’t forget to stop by and say HI!
If you are interested in learning more about home ownership with Habitat for Humanity give us a call at 734-4040 or email email@example.com.
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