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AnnMarie Gray- one year of homeownership.

AnnMarie Gray, Habitat Homeowner Since April 23, 2015

AnnMarie Gray has gained independence through homeownership. She started Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley’s Homeownership program while going through a divorce and she was determined to have something that she could make all her own.

“I didn’t have anywhere to go really, unless I wanted to move back in with my parents or get an apartment. I couldn’t afford a house on my own at the time,” said AnnMarie

AnnMarie has two sons, Brent, who has a family of his own, and Brenden, who is a senior in high school this year. They both love music and were even in a band together! Brenden lives with AnnMarie and both are enjoying their new home.

“I love my whole house, I’ve painted the whole thing and really made it mine. My son has his space too. The thing I love most is that it’s mine and I can afford it. I lived in a trailer park when I was younger and that’s never a great experience. It’s mine, it’s safe, and we’ve made it our own,” said AnnMarie.

Homeownership has not only brought AnnMarie independence, but also allowed her to grow in other aspects of her life.

“I’ve had less worries about things, so I’ve gotten a couple promotions at work over the past year. My career is going really well and everything has just been really great and it all started with Habitat,” said AnnMarie.

The journey to homeownership is not an easy one. Each future Habitat homeowner is required to complete 250 sweat equity hours that include volunteering on his or her home or another Habitat home and attending financial wellness classes.

“I worked really hard for it and I made it happen all by myself. I was really proud of that,” AnnMarie continued, “All the blood, sweat and tears that I went through, it’s worth it. It’s just so worth every minute of all the ups and downs.”

Congratulations, AnnMarie, on one year of homeownership!


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Angela Peters- one year of homeownership.

Angela Peters, Habitat Homeowner Since June 18, 2015

For Angela Peters, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley entered her life at the exact time she needed it the most. Angela worked at the University of Michigan as an accountant, but was permanently disabled from an illness that she battled for most of her life. She was no longer able to work and lost the condominium she owned. She was forced to move into a one-bedroom apartment in a local subsidized housing community. She spent 7 ½ years living in an environment that exacerbated her health problems and encompassed frequent criminal activity.

“I was trying to figure out another place that was safer than where I was, but still affordable. I was looking online and that’s how I came across Habitat as one of the options,” said Angela.

Angela now has a safe, stable environment that she can rely on. The thing she loves most about her home is her ceiling fans. It might seem like a small thing to some people, but to her it makes a big difference.

“I really appreciate the ceiling fans because I have asthma and having a source of moving air really helps. I have one in my bedroom, living room and kitchen that I turn on even in the winter,” said Angela.

Going through the Homeownership Program at Habitat requires 250 sweat equity hours. This includes working on the future homeowner’s own home or another Habitat home, as well as financial wellness classes to prepare for the financial responsibility of homeownership.

“The biggest part for me that I felt was very daunting was getting the sweat equity hours. Being physically disabled it was very difficult for me to get them done especially in a timely manner. But I persisted and in the end, even though it is tough going through the program, it is so worth it,” said Angela.

Angela’s home is next door to another Habitat family, Carmen and Elbert Sauls. She has joined them for barbecues, and Carmen has even come over to Angela’s house to learn how to make jewelry, one of Angela’s passions.

“Just meeting them and having them there as neighbors, they are just wonderful people. Every Habitat family I have met, they have all been really friendly and giving,” said Angela.

Congratulation, Angela, on one year of homeownership!


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Carmen and Elbert Sauls- one year of homeownership.

Carmen and Elbert Sauls, Habitat Homeowner Since April 9, 2015

Elbert and Carmen Sauls met in church when they were just 10-years-old. They are celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary this year and have a beautiful little girl, Theresa, who will be 6 in March. They are enjoying homeownership and having a safe place to grow as a family.

“Just living in it and our daughter being able to go out in the backyard to play. We know we are in a good neighborhood that is safe. We love it,” said Elbert.

Elbert and Carmen both lived with their parents until they got married, they then rented for a few years before finding the Homeownership Program through Habitat.

“Having a home and to be able to say it is ours is something totally different than renting,” said Elbert.

Elbert and Carmen knew they wanted a home eventually but didn’t see this as a possibility before they found Habitat.

“I didn’t believe there were nice people in the world and working with everyone at Habitat especially Paul, there are just tons of amazing people at Habitat,” said Elbert.

Elbert and Carmen are preparing the send their daughter off to kindergarten next year. They are loving the life they have made in their home, and now Theresa will have a stable place to grow up, in a community that is safe.

“It was our time and Habitat blessed us. We are so thankful and we are so happy,” said Elbert.

Congratulations, Sauls Family, on one year of homeownership!

 

 

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Anita Snow- one year of homeownership.

Anita Snow, Habitat Homeowner Since December 21, 2015

Anita Snow heard about Habitat’s Homeownership program from a University of Michigan Health System coworker. She never thought she would embark on this journey of homeownership so soon in her life but is glad that she took this leap of faith.

“When opportunity knocks, you answer with a big smile. One thing I do know is that prayer works and God blesses you with what you need right when you need it,” said Anita.

Anita initially wanted to become a homeowner so that she could have something of her own. Before she moved into her Habitat home she was living with her parents, sister, and niece.

“I wanted to be somewhere I could build a future and possibly have something to pass down to my family,” said Anita.

Anita is the middle of five siblings and has three nieces that she adores.

“Having my own home is wonderful because I can finally invite my parents over for dinner and have my favorite little girls over,” said Anita.

Living in Ypsilanti is a much easier commute to work than when she lived in Inkster. She is now working in the community that she lives and is enjoying her new neighborhood.

“I love my neighborhood. It’s quiet and I like my neighbors. I look forward to more years in my home,” said Anita.

Congratulations, Anita, on one year of homeownership!

 

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Chevon Hall- one year of homeownership.

Chevon Hall, Habitat Homeowner Since October 8, 2015

Chevon Hall and her two children, Deja, (18) and Matthew, (14), are prospering in their Habitat home.

Deja graduated from Pathways to Success in Ann Arbor in May and was valedictorian of her class. She is now attending Washtenaw Community College on a scholarship and plans to pursue her studies to become a radiologist. When she is not in school, she works at a rehab center not far from their home. After a long day of school and work, she now has a place to come home to that is safe and secure.

Matthew loves that he can play basketball with his friends in his own yard which he didn’t get to do where they previously lived. Before Habitat, the family of three rented a town home in Ypsilanti.

“It was very noisy. It was okay for what it was but the area wasn’t the greatest,” continued Chevon. “We have lived in apartments for all of my kids’ lives. I never could have imagined becoming a home owner at all.”

Chevon wanted something to call their own and knew that a mortgage payment is usually cheaper than renting.

“I love that it’s mine. I can paint if I want and not have to paint it back when the lease is up,” said Chevon.

During her one-year walk through, with Habitat staff, who visit to determine if the house needs any repairs, Chevon was picking out colors to paint her porch.

“I am so thankful for the Habitat program and their wonderful sponsors. Habitat makes dreams come true!” Chevon exclaimed.

Congratulations, Chevon, on one year of homeownership!

 

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Jacqulynn Cochran- one year of homeownership.

Jacqulynn Cochran, Habitat Homeowner Since December 16, 2015

Jacqulynn and her son, Donivan (14), have rooted themselves in Gault Village, one of the neighborhoods Habitat is working to improve. On December 16, 2016, they will be celebrating one year of homeownership. One of the most important things to them when owning their own home was being in a community where people stay.

“I have a son that is able to feel secure in the neighborhood that we live in versus renting where we were. Friends would come and go because of families renting. You never really knew who was going to stick around. He made friends but after a short period those friends wouldn’t live there anymore. He likes the fact that most kids he meets are going to stay around for a while,” said Jacqulynn.

Donivan loves playing video games and would like to turn that passion into a career someday. Having his own room gives him a place where he can do the things he enjoys and explore his passions.

“Owning a home has been a dream of mine for a while, but not one I thought would be a reality,” said Jacqulynn.

Jacqulynn is busy working full time at University of Michigan as a call center representative as well as going to school part time at Washtenaw Community College. She is studying Human Services and later plans to attend Eastern Michigan. While working full time and going to school, she still made time to complete Habitat’s Homeownership Program.

“I have such pride in homeownership. I am able to make changes to the home that as a renter I wasn’t able to do before,” Jacqulynn continued, “I am able to come in the door and know that it’s mine.”

Congratulations, Jacqulynn and Donivan, on one year of homeownership!

 

 

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Tia Walker- one year of homeownership.

Tia Walker, Habitat Homeowner Since June 30, 2015

Tia Walker is a single mother of four boys: Demetrius (22), Brian (18), Shawn (14), and Jayden (5). Even though her hands are full with her boys, she was still determined to achieve homeownership through Habitat.

“This is such a better feeling than renting. You feel much more comfortable owning your own home,” said Tia.

Tia’s sons enjoy sports and being outside; their home gives them a safe place where they can play basketball in the driveway and football in their backyard.

Family means a lot to the Walkers. Tia is especially close with her mother who she has been taking care of since her stroke a few years back. Now that the Walkers have their own home, they can enjoy having their family over whenever they like.

“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own home for my children and myself. When they go off to college, they can always come home, where there’s love, warmth and comfort,” said Tia.

Congratulations, Tia, on one year of homeownership!

 

 

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Tanisha Morgan- one year of homeownership.

Tanisha Morgan, Habitat Homeowner Since June 16, 2015

Tanisha Morgan wants to give her children the very thing that her mom always wanted to give her but wasn’t able to before she passed away: the safety and security of homeownership.

“One of the things I love most about owning my own home is that it belongs to me and my children. I remember when I was growing up my mom was trying to buy a house but she was very sick and passed away when I was 19. One of her goals before she passed was trying to get something that we could hold onto that was hers. She didn’t get the opportunity to do that,” said Tanisha.

Tanisha has lived out her mother’s dream of homeownership and has been a homeowner for more than a year. She and her two children, Jalen, 13, and London, 3, are loving their new home.

“We are in a really nice neighborhood, I love my neighbors. My children are enjoying the environment and it’s something we can call our own,” said Tanisha.

Jalen’s favorite part is knowing that he doesn’t have to share a room with his little sister anymore.

“We were renting a super small house before Habitat where there wasn’t a lot of space for us. When we moved into our Habitat house the room sizes were perfect for my son and daughter,” said Tanisha.

Tanisha worked with her support partner, Susie Cannell, through the homeownership process and says she has become a part of her family. At Habitat each future homeowner is paired with a support partner. This person acts as the liaison between Habitat and the future homeowner to guide them through the process to homeownership.

“Susie came over and helped plant flowers before the fall popped up. Every time I come home, I think of her. It is a memory that is embedded in my son’s brain because now every fall that’s something he wants to do as a family,” said Tanisha.

Congratulations, Tanisha, on one year of homeownership!

 

 

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Du’Charm Archer- one year of homeownership.

Du’Charm Archer, Habitat Homeowner Since May 5, 2015

Du’Charm first heard about Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley when her brother and his family got accepted into the Homeownership Program more than 10 years ago. Du’Charm saw how Habitat changed her brother’s and other families’ lives and was inspired to do the same.

“Being a homeowner is one of the biggest investments you can make in yourself and your future,” said Du’Charm.

Du’Charm and her son Me’Shach are enjoying what comes with homeownership. Me’Shach is a seventh grader at Fortis Academy and can rely on having a safe place to come home to everyday. One of his favorite things about living in their new home is the backyard, where he can practice his favorite sport, soccer.

“When you walk out your backdoor and you’re in your backyard and your son can go in his backyard to play it’s a different feeling. I want to say pride but even that doesn’t encompasses it all,” said Du’Charm.

Du’Charm is a teacher that graduated from University of Michigan and got her M.A. in Elementary Education at The City College of New York. She now works in Ann Arbor as a kindergarten teacher.

“I love so many things about my house. I love having a laundry room so I don’t have to go to the laundry mat, I love my garden in the back, I love my hardwood floors, I love that I have upstairs space, my bedroom, bathroom, every part!” said Du’Charm.

Before Habitat, Du’Charm and her son were renting a two bedroom town home in Ypsilanti where her rent costed more per month than her current mortgage.

“The thing I love about Habitat is that they teach you how to take care of your house. I appreciated all the classes they gave us,” said Du’Charm.

Before moving into their Habitat home each homeowner is required to put in 250 sweat equity hours which includes attending financial wellness classes.

“I encourage people to do it. I am surprised at this point there are still people who aren’t familiar with Habitat,” continued Du’Charm, “Habitat really looks out for people in the lower income bracket and tries to help them achieve homeownership.”

 

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Lilia Milne- one year of homeownership.

Lilia Milne, Habitat Homeowner Since September 29, 2015 

Lilia Milne is a grandma to an energetic, 6-year-old boy, Hunter. They both have been enjoying their home this past year and the privacy that they didn’t previously have.

“I get to play in the basement and the upstairs with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!” Hunter exclaims.

Before Habitat, Lilia and her grandson lived in a trailer that didn’t have the best conditions. Their water would turn their clothes yellow, they had a mice problem, and Lilia says the insulation was almost inexistent.

“I didn’t want to live like that,” said Lilia. “I have a grandson and I think for him it was better to live in a real house.”

Lilia is originally from Panama but has been in the U.S. for over 30 years. She loves the changing of the seasons and like her grandson, enjoys being outside. Lilia now has a beautiful garden with roses and Hunter has a backyard where he can play.

“Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley is a real organization—they really help, they really care,” said Lilia.

Congratulation Lilia on one year of homeownership!

 

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