As a healthcare provider and recent nursing school graduate, the impact of a safe, quality home on the health of her family is not lost on Brandy. This past year has shown all of us just how important a secure and safe home is.
In April Jim Morris, president & CEO, celebrated with Brandy at a small home dedication. Watch the video below to hear what home means to Brandy and her son, Adrian!
Brandy’s story is one of resilience and dedication.
“Everyone always dreams at some point in their lives about the ‘perfect home’ with the so called white picket
fence,” wrote Brandy. “Sitting on the porch with the children running and playing in the huge yard. For the longest time having a simple roof over my head that I could simply call home was my dream. Growing up I was bounced around from school to school being forced to meet new people and start a new life until we would become evicted again and forced once again to move to another location. Just when I started to make friends we would have to pack up and move to the next temporary home.”
Brandy also played the mother role often for her siblings. “Doing laundry, cooking and cleaning became more of a responsibility to me than my homework and studying. I remember cooking outside on a handmade fire pit because our gas would be shut off most of the time. Microwaving water to wash dishes and bathe in quickly before it got too cold in the unheated home. Using candles and tons of blankets for lights and warmth when the electricity was shut off on us. Getting up at six in the morning to bath in cold water without heat or lights. Taking a long walk to school in the cold winter mornings. I always told told myself as soon as I could get my own home I would make sure I at least could afford my utilities no matter the inside of the home. At ten years-old my dream home was just a home with working utilities.”
As a young, single mom, Brandy worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and eventually found a house to rent on the corner of a busy road. But, it was her own place. “My name, my bills and my little house on the comer. I was never more proud of myself. Over the next couple of years I started college to achieve my all-time goal of becoming a registered nurse.”
“One year into the home of my dreams I began to realize it was not so much a dream,” shared Brandy. “I ran into major plumbing problems that put me without water for days. I had to use multiple space heaters due to my furnace not being sufficient enough for the size and layout of my home, which increased my utilities bills so much that I could not afford them. The landlord did not give me many options to help fix these issues so I dealt with them as best as I could. About two years into this home I received emergency custody of my niece.”
“Giving up on college for the time being was my only option. My house became very crowded at this time. After two years living with us and becoming just like a sibling to my son, my niece was able to go back home to her mother on a temporary basis. I hope she is able to stay with her mother for good, however if she ever needs me I will be there for her immediately…I am a firm believer in God and I have truly been blessed to have made it this far in my life. I believe God has big plans for my family and me. I started college again and I landed a great job where I use my college education and can help continue my education.”
Brandy wanted a home to provide a safe and healthy place for her son and niece to grow up. That’s when she explored homeownership with Habitat for Humanity. After applying to the program and completing 300 hours of sweat equity, including homeownership classes and volunteering to help build her home and other Habitat homes, Brandy finally signed the paperwork to become a first-time homeowner in April!
“I am ready to finally be able to secure a home for me and my family. One that we can call ‘Ours.’ A place we can safely lay our head down at night. Many memories are built within a home. I am very excited and eager to build memories within my Habitat home. It is a fresh new start for my family that is much needed. A place for my son to grow up and enjoy. A place for my niece to know she can always come and can have a space of her own when it is needed the most…Owning a home from Habitat for Humanity will truly be a huge blessing to me and my family.”