Posts by huronvalley

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!




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!




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.”



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!



Kim Smith- one year of homeownership.

Kim Smith, Habitat Homeowner Since June 4, 2015

Kim Smith is the proud homeowner of 1210 Desoto Ave., Ypsilanti. She found out about Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley through a coworker, who encouraged her to apply.

“I didn’t even know that being an independent homeowner was something I wanted before going through the process. No one can take this from me; I finally have safety and security,” said Kim.

Having been a co-homeowner before, Kim could see the futility of paying rent. She didn’t want to waste her money on something that in the end, wasn’t really her own.

“I might as well take a lighter to my check and burn it up. Renting is pretty much wasted money,” said Kim. “This way, it’s my home and as long as I keep up with my payments, no one can take it from me. No one can say, ‘you wouldn’t have that if it weren’t for me.’”

Kim earned her home through Habitat by completing 250 sweat equity hours, making a $1,000 down payment, and continuing to make monthly mortgage payments. Security is Kim’s favorite thing about homeownership. She knows that when she comes home, everything is exactly as she left it.

“It’s safe. It’s comfort,” said Kim. “Working with the people at Habitat is an amazing experience that you can’t put into words until you actually do it. That house was so full of love even before I moved in. I would recommend Habitat to anyone.”

Congratulations Kim on one year of homeownership!



The Smith Family- one year of homeownership.

Shawn and Jessica Smith, Habitat Homeowners Since June 29, 2015

Shawn and Jessica Smith have two boys, Jonathan, 5, and Jordan, 3, who now have a safe place to grow and play. The Smith Family has been in their home for an entire year! That is a full year of having a backyard to play in and a safe place to come home for dinner.

“We liked Habitat because they renovated homes and are establishing neighborhoods. That was our ultimate goal – not just to have safe housing, but to be in a community. Our previous neighborhood was too scary to even go trick-or-treating. This year, the boys could play outside for the first time and I didn’t have to worry. They feel safe and secure, and we love that this is a place we own,” said Jessica.

This past year was Jonathan’s first year in kindergarten. Before moving into his Habitat home, Jonathan said he was looking forward to, “having friends who are my neighbors.” Jordan was looking forward to playing outside, something the boys couldn’t do in their previous neighborhood.

In fall of 2014, a series of tests and scans revealed that Jonathan has an acute aneurysm on the brain. This news almost broke the families spirit but Jonathan said, “It’s okay. I will still be able to play outside at our big, big house.”

Congratulations Smith Family on one year of homeownership!



Lola Joiner- one year of homeownership.

Lola Joiner, Habitat Homeowner Since Sept. 9, 2015

After applying three different times, Lola’s journey started with Habitat in 2014. She has now been a homeowner for one year, making the long process all worth it.

“I was tired of paying rent and needed a backyard for my grandkids and a place that was big enough for my family to come together,” said Lola.

Lola was a single parent who is now a grandma to four grandchildren. Her family comes over often to enjoy the backyard that is big enough for all her grandchildren.

“I am able to have my family gathered together in the summertime for barbequing and watching the kids run around and play,” said Lola.

Having been through the program Lola says that you really need to be patient and open-minded.

“The homeownership program Habitat offers is awesome. Without Habitat some of us wouldn’t be able to afford a conventional loan. I’ve been promoting Habitat like mad to family, friends, anyone that wants to hear about it!” said Lola.


Mamie Clark- Anderson- one year of homeownership.

Mamie Clark-Anderson, Habitat Homeowner Since June 29, 2015

Since retiring from Washtenaw County 14A District Court after 35 years of service, Mamie has been enjoying her time with her Habitat home. She closed on her home at 1287 Hunter Ave., Ypsilanti on June 29, 2015.

“It’s mine and I know when I come in the door things are just the way that I left them,” said Mamie.

The first house that she saw through Habitat she thought it was ready for someone to move in immediately and this was before the renovation process! Habitat tore out the carpets and the dry wall and found that there was mold inside.

“I was shocked that people buy these houses and they are not really ready. You wouldn’t have ever known! Working with Habitat gave me a different eye looking for things when you are buying a home. That’s what I love about Habitat,” said Mamie.

One of her favorite things about her home is that she can pull into the drive way and know it’s hers, she can do all the landscaping she wants, and she has more than enough space for herself. Congratulations Mamie on one year of homeownership!donate-now

C.J. Butcher Closed On His Habitat Home!

[Blog by Sophia Williams, Development Associate, Special Events & Marketing]

cj-cutting-ribbonHabitat has another homeowner that closed on their home! As of yesterday, C.J. Butcher is the proud homeowner of 124 Kansas Ave., Ypsilanti 48198.

Before starting his journey with Habitat, C.J. rented for a few years moving from one apartment to another.

“My rent was really expensive. The one I rented just before this had bed bugs when I moved in. I can’t wait to get out,” said C.J.

While renting, C.J. never decorated or really rooted down anywhere. He didn’t want to waste investing his time and money into an apartment that in the end wasn’t really his.

“I had a friend tell me, ‘you can spend your money, or you can invest your money.’ Owning a home is absolutely an investment of your money,” said C.J.

C.J. can now rest easy knowing that he has somewhere that is safe, stable, and a place to call his own.

“It’s a peace of mind owning a home. Everything is calm. I’ve had roommates in the past and now I don’t have to have any roommates! Just owning something is so great. It’s a starting point, a reference point where I can spring board to starting a new life,” said C.J.

One of the things he is looking forward to most is the garden he is going to start. He is anxious to begin planting vegetables that will put his cooking skills to good use. He is also planning to have a small pond like environment for his turtle, Shellanda.

Along with his hobbies of cooking and working on small engines, C.J. is also a dedicated student with a 3.7 GPA enrolled year round. He is currently working on his Associates in Applied Science in Healthcare Program Preparation at WCC.

C.J.’s accomplishment of homeownership is one that was earned through Habitat. He put in over 250 sweat equity hours, a $1,000 down payment, and is paying back a 0% interest mortgage. Congratulations, C.J.!

“Everybody at Habitat was just good people, just so willing to help and truly authentic. I’m glad to meet everyone that I did through Habitat,” said C.J.

Thank you, to everyone who volunteered, donated, or supported the renovation of C.J.’s home in any way. We are so grateful for our supporters. Our mission of providing affordable homeownership wouldn’t be possible without you!

A Home That Is All Her Own


[Blog by Sophia Williams, Development Associate, Special Events & Marketing]

habitat-profilePaula Porter is a spunky, full hearted woman who now has a place to call her own. Just yesterday she closed on her Habitat home at 570 Greenlawn Ave., Ypsilanti 48198.

Before Paula began this six month journey she didn’t realize that Habitat was an option for her. She had volunteered with Habitat through high school but associated it with families, not a single lady like herself. After hearing about another single future Habitat homeowner, CJ Butcher, she decided to apply. These six months have been a whirlwind for this independent woman but one that she says is completely worth it.

“Looking back on it, now that it’s finished, it really wasn’t that hard. Given what you are accomplishing it is worth the struggle,” said Paula.

Putting in her sweat equity hours was one of the largest obstacles Paula had to accomplish. She works six days a week in retail so motivating herself to do construction hours on her day off was an understandable hurdle. Paula’s dedication has now brought her to the day she has been waiting for, the day she closes on her home.

In the beginning of the year Paula was just starting to think about homeownership. “My mother is getting older and the plan has always been, as long as there aren’t any huge medical issues I was going to take her in rather than send her anywhere. It was time to start planning,” said Paula.

Before Habitat, Paula had lived with her mother for a number of years making more financial sense after college. While in college Paula lived in a number of different apartments including in a tiny 220 sq ft apartment where her bed was 5 ft away from her noisy fridge. Her mortgage that she will pay for her home is about $100 less than rent at her previous apartment.

“If you were to ask me in March if I were to ever own a home I’d probably laugh. Now it’s here and I’m freaking out. I’m happy,” said Paula.


Click here to support more families in Washtenaw County achieve their dream of homeownership.