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A big secret...and a wonderful Habitat surprise

DoShanley was keeping a big secret from her daughters.

When she first applied to the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Homeownership program, DoShanley decided not to tell her two (now three) daughters. For months, she kept the secret to herself, even after being accepted into the program.

"I can't wait to see the excitement on their faces!" DoShanley explained.

And excitement is exactly what the girls displayed when DoShanley finally told them about their new home in Robbinsdale.

"They brought tears to my eyes, they were so excited!" DoShanley said. "They're already planning what their rooms are going to look like, and they're just happy to know that they're going to have their own home."


DoShanley, Kaniyah (7 years old), Niveda (6 years old), and new baby Lillie, currently live in North Minneapolis in a duplex, and have been battling frustrations with repeatedly clogged drains, leaking pipes and mold. The mold issue is especially problematic because one of her daughters suffers from asthma. After hearing a coworker explain the Habitat Homeownership Program to another coworker, and seeing that coworker become a homeowner, DoShanley knew she had to apply to the program herself.

Construction on the family's new home started in June. It is being sponsored by Thrivent Financial and 15 congregation and coalition partners; including Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, which donates a portion of the proceeds from their annual Brews, Blues N' BBQs community fundraiser event to Twin Cities Habitat. The project also received support from the City of Robbinsdale and a Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) grant.

"I love every bit of this home," DoShanley shared. "This is my house. I can point to certain pieces of it and say 'I worked on this wall right here'. I'm in love with being able to see it come together, and say I put my sweat, tears, aches and pains into it."

DoShanley is currently in the process of completing her sweaty equity hours with help from coworkers, family, and friends, and has already completed five of the eleven required homeownership training courses. When talking about the classes, DoShanley emphasized how much she's learned:

"Every class I've attended so far has taught me something new. The classes are incredibly helpful, especially as a first-time homebuyer. Things like extra charges on your water bill and lawn maintenance - it just blows my mind how much there is to know about owning a home."

DoShanley has big plans for her new yard and garden, and can't wait to plant lots of flowers with her daughters. She's also planning to let Niveda paint her new room orange (her favorite color!) and feels that Robbinsdale will be a great community for her daughters to grow up in.

In working alongside Twin Cities Habitat staff, DoShanley gained so much appreciation for those who, in her words, are "putting their all into helping us build our dreams." She shared how "easy-going, fun and not stuck up" staff members are, and how the staff and volunteers on the build site made her feel completely comfortable, even though she knew very little about building a home.

"I think it's different from just going out and buying a home," DoShanley said. "Once you put your all into the home, it's something you're going to fight to keep. I helped build this home. I've put too much into it to ever let it go."

Above all, DoShanley hopes her children can look back on this time and see how hard their mother worked to provide them with a stable and safe home. 

"This is our foundation. This is something we can start to build off of." - DoShanley, Habitat Homebuyer

**Update: August 12, 2015 | Channel 12 Interview with DoShanley**

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Becky Engen

Becky Engen

Becky Engen has a passion for writing and building and engaging with communities through social media. She graduated from St. Cloud State University, and began her career in marketing and advertising as a junior copywriter and social media specialist. Becky joined the Twin Cities Habitat marketing team in 2013 as the Digital Marketing Program Manager and loves that she continues to learn something new each and every day about the great people who work for, volunteer with, and are served through the organization.

Topics: Family Spotlight, Thrivent, Archive