Words From Our Homeowners
"Owning my new home helps me to give my children more of
the attention that they deserve and need..." -- Monica Martinez
Monica Martinez celebrated the completion of her new Habitat home during dedication ceremonies in February 2011. Below is a speech she gave at a recent Habitat event.
Hi, my name is Monica Martinez. I have just recently moved into my new Habitat home last month. I have been married to Robert for one year (but we’ve been together for a total of 11 years). We have three children who we’re very proud of -- Monique 9, Jose, 7 and Alina, 3. I first found out about Habitat through Robert’s aunt who is a Habitat homeowner in an east side neighborhood. Since we knew we wanted to start looking for a home, we took a chance and applied for a Habitat home. When we first applied we did not qualify – they told us we needed to clear up some credit issues first. After doing that, we applied again a month later and found out we were approved last March!
We were both excited and nervous because we had to do construction and we didn’t have any experience in that. So with a husband working full time, I was our primary sweat equity earner. I even sprained my ankle during sweat equity hours and never got behind – I got to work some of my hours in the Home Centers while I was recovering. I have to say my favorite part of my sweat equity hours was being on the construction site -- you get to interact with so many volunteers and you get to know all your neighbors because you’re working hard on each others’ houses. Throughout the sweat equity process you really get to learn the “how to’s” of everything in a house. Now I feel I don’t need a husband since I know how to fix everything in the house. Just kidding…
Throughout the sweat equity process I felt very motivated – especially since you know in the end you will own your own home. Robert and I always felt welcome and comfortable working at the site – it felt like family. The more we were out there, the more we learned – and boy is there a lot to learn. I kept thinking that I was so looking forward to not living in an apartment. Having a home is not like apartment living where I never hung pictures – since it wasn’t ours. This home, as my mom likes to say, is ours!
I had always been a working parent – I used to work for Sodexo at USAA. I never missed work or was late. After I had my son Jose and it became clear that he had some special needs that required lots of doctor appointments, I had to stop work to be a full time mom.
Owning my new home helps me to give my children more of the attention that they deserve and need – especially some extra attention to Jose. Jose just needs a little more attention when it comes to certain things like homework, or getting ready for a family outing. Now that Jose is getting older and doing better – both at school and home – I feel like it’s time to either go back to work or finish college. I would like to do something related to the medical field, maybe an ultrasound technician. Since the house dedication and moving in, I’ve been so excited. I feel like I can’t do enough to my house. I’ve since updated our living room furniture and am working on getting Monique a new bed. The kids were so excited about getting the house they even got to choose their own rooms. Right now they are vying for who gets the dog in their room.
It’s so fun to see how excited the kids are to move to their new elementary school next year. They’ll be attending Bob Hope Elementary. I just hope the school is ready for them!!!
Monique will be in the 5th grade, Jose will be in the 3rd grade and Alina in pre-k so I hope to either get a job or go back to school by this August. Maybe I can do full-time work, part-time school or vice versa, we’ll see. The sky is the limit! My plans for the future are to turn our house into a home, make some memories, maybe pay off the house early or even extend or add on to it, then go travel with the kids.
I would recommend Habitat to anyone who wants to own a home without putting themselves into debt. I thank God first for giving us the opportunity to own an affordable home, to the volunteers who came out and sweated their bottoms off, the Habitat staff for always being so friendly and funny and to my family for assisting us with not only our sweat equity but for the behind the scenes stuff like babysitting so I could go out and get my hours done. Thank you to all who either come out to volunteer or help fund Habitat to help other families who are in the same situation as we were. Habitat supporters, you not only made my dreams come true, but the dreams of my children too.
"One of the happiest days of my life was when
I moved into my Habitat home ..." -- Monica Solis
Monica Solis moved into her Habitat home in August, 2008. She shared her story during the October, 2008 Legacy Builder's Luncheon.
Hello. My name is Monica Solis. I am very proud to be here today. I’m proud of Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio and the work that it does. I’m also very proud of what HFHSA has helped me accomplish.
I am a single mother of four boys – Isaac who is 12; Nathaniel, 10; Jay, 7 and Moises, 3. They are my life. I wanted to
provide them with a good environment to live in and with the help of HFHSA, I’ve been able to do that. One of the happiest days of my life was when I moved into my Habitat home – a home that I own — on this past August 23.
My boys are wonderful and everything I do, I do for them. It always made me sad when I was married that we moved 12 times from 3 different states, 7 cities, and house to house. I always wanted to be able to have a home that was ours. We were just never able to afford to buy one.
After I divorced, it was even more difficult. I rented for a while, but I just couldn’t keep up with the $900 monthly rent payments. I was really going through a hard time financially and emotionally. I was facing the end of a 12-year marriage, and at the same time I lost my mother. It was really rough and I didn’t know what I was going to do. Not having family here in San Antonio made it harder at times. It’s just me and my boys.
When my best friend and coworker of mine in the Northside ISD Bil/ESL Department encouraged me to apply for a Habitat home, I knew that this was a wonderful opportunity. Qualifying for this home-buying program has truly been a blessing.
My best friend offered to let me and the boys live with her until we could get on our feet and our house was in the process of getting built. It was wonderful of her to do that and we enjoyed staying there, but it was difficult having so many people under one roof. I felt we were invading her space. My boys had to sleep on the floor at times and there really was no room for them to have their own toys and space. It was a sacrifice, but I think everything we have been through has made me stronger.
I look back very fondly at the time I spent working on my home. I still remember what it made me feel like knowing that very soon I would finally be moving my boys into a home that is all ours. I loved the fact that they wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor anymore. Just to think about it brought tears to my eyes and gave me a feeling that I still can’t explain. What I couldn’t accomplish while being married for 12 years, I was able to do as a single parent. All thanks to Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio, wonderful donors and friends. Even to this day we are still getting a lot of help and support from friends.
I had to do 300 hours of sweat equity. At first I was a little scared, but the satisfaction it gave me helped me overcome my fears. I couldn’t wait to be able to sit on my front porch with my girlfriends, look up and be able to say “I was on that roof.” Not everyone can say that and it makes me feel so proud every time I say that.
I learned a lot throughout this process. I learned new home maintenance skills and gained knowledge about financial management through the classes I was required to take through the Habitat program. This experience has truly enabled me to better our current situation and work on improving our future.
We’ve only lived in our home for two months but we are settled in and have already gotten used to calling it “our home.” We always said that about the house we lived in before, but in reality, they were only rental homes. It is so much better to take care of our own home. And to make it even better, it’s not only ours, but it’s affordable. The mortgage payments are fabulous. I now pay less then half of what I had to pay before. I never thought anyone would be able to buy a home for that, and the process to qualify was a lot easier than most people would think. Habitat worked with me the whole time to ensure that everything was done properly.
Living in our home is awesome. My boys are happy with it and have gotten along pretty well with the kids in the neighborhood. I think that it’s nice to know that my children and the children of my neighbors will grow up together and become good friends. Another thing that I like about this program is that you get to know your neighbors while you are earning your 300 sweat equity hours. Now that we are in our house we take care of each other and don’t let nobody come and ruin have we so hard have worked for “our home”. The best part about this whole experience was that I was able to provide for them and be a part of building a home for my boys.
I can’t say thank you enough to HFHSA and to the sponsors of my home. It’s because of them that we have a place of our own and we don’t have to worry about moving again, a least not for a long, long time. I know my boys will eventually grow up and move out, but I love the thought that they will have great memories here and always have a home to come back to and be proud of.
"I have a completely different life now ..." -- Janie Acosta
Janie Acosta moved into her Habitat home in 1999. She shared her experience at the 2006 Legacy Builder's Luncheon for Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio.
My name is Janie Acosta and I am a Habitat homeowner. I’ve lived in my home since 1999 and I’m here to tell you that Habitat really makes a difference. If it weren’t for this organization, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Growing up, my family faced a lot of difficulties. My mother died when I was very young and my father was killed in a car accident when I was twelve. It was this hardship that taught my brothers and sisters that we had to stick together as a family. Even though we were poor, we always had a roof over our heads and food to eat. Later, when I got married, I began to realize just how important a home and stability were - because I didn’t have it anymore.
My husband couldn’t keep a steady job so we were constantly moving from house to house, from apartment to roach-infested apartment. There were holes in the walls, the neighborhoods were bad and my children were never in one place long enough to make friends. I even learned about Habitat for Humanity in 1984 but we were in such a difficult place that I didn’t even try to apply. Even though it was hard, I tried to teach my children what I learned when I was growing up: we needed to stick together as a family.
Then, after 11 years of marriage, I got divorced. I had three children with me in a little one bedroom apartment and I didn’t know what to do. I was devastated and desperate. I needed stability for my family and me so my children could feel safe. I looked into buying a house – but there was no way I could qualify for a regular mortgage. I lost hope.
Thirteen years after I first learned about Habitat for Humanity, I finally applied for a home. I still didn’t think I would qualify but I tried anyway. When Habitat said they’d help me, I found hope again. When I learned about the requirements – the 300 hours of sweat equity – I thought, “Piece of Cake! If this is what it will take to get a home, I can do this.” It takes sacrifices to get things and I was willing to do that. Through hard work, I was willing to build a home – not just a house.
I have a completely different life now that I’m in my Habitat home. I married a man I know is dedicated to our family and our home. I know because he worked to build our home right alongside me. Edward, my husband, was a coworker who volunteered his time to help me accomplish my goal. When we finished building the house, we decided to build a life together! I have a job that allows me to dedicate myself to the important things – my family, my faith, and the community. I care for two of my sisters and my youngest daughter, Danielle, is a special needs child so I am very active in her school. My children and grandchildren have a place to spend time together as a family.
When you are blessed, you should bless others in return. Now, I feel that I am able to bless others. I have not forgotten – I will never forget – what Habitat for Humanity did for me. I am very grateful. Thank you.
"This is my house...." -- Roxane Faz
This speech was given April 3, 2008 at a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. Roxane Faz, a single mother of one had only been in her home a few months. Her home was completed in August, 2007.
Hello my name is Roxane Faz. I recently bought a Habitat home in the Palo Alto community for myself and my 14-year-old son.
Taking that first step to homeownership was a little scary at first, but I made it, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.
I’m here today to say I’m in awe. I’m in awe of all the wonderful volunteers who helped make my new home possible. Without your work and the work of Habitat for Humanity it might not have happened for me. Being a new homeowner is a very overwhelming feeling, but in a good way.
Today, I’m much happier and a lot less stressed. It’s been so exciting getting to know my neighbors and decorating my new home. There is just so much I want to do now and I have you – the volunteers – to thank for that.
Before becoming a Habitat homeowner, I lived in low-income housing and in rental homes that were costing me more than what I pay now. The area I lived in was bad and had gangs. I always kept to myself and only talked to my immediate neighbors. I’m a single mom and it was not only hard to make ends meet, it was also scary. I always wanted my son to have his own room and to feel safe.
I saw a billboard about Habitat and decided I would go for it. I knew that if I could get a house for less than what I was already paying and in a better neighborhood, I could make it. And, I would own my own home!
The overwhelming part came when I realized that this was really happening … that I was becoming a homeowner and had to perform 300 hours of sweat equity to make it happen. But I did it. I made it happen. I just had to work out my schedule. In the process I got to know so many wonderful people. It was so nice. I’m still in shock that there are so many people out there willing to help. They are always thinking of others and having fun on site. It was a teaching experience for me; I did not realize that there were that many volunteers!
It was also nice for me to get to work on the homes of my neighbors. I was helping build my community. And then we got to my house. I was like, “This is my house.”
I am a homeowner. I come home to my own house and not a rented one. My son has his own room. If anything ever happens to me, I know my son will be taken care of. It is a wonderful experience and I will always let others know about this organization.
Habitat is a great resource for families – helping and teaching us the value of owning a house, and how to overcome our past.
Now, I hope that I can become one of you -- a volunteer -- and help continue to build more Habitat homes and more communities, just like the one we’ve all help build.