We recently held a Stories of Home Contest where we asked Twin Cities Habitat homeowners to share a story answering the question: "What does your home mean to you?" Here's one of the winning stories in the homeowner's own voice. Story and photos shared with their permission.
Written by Daniel Onyancha, Habitat Homeowner since 2017.
This essay would look like a narrative or a story of something, but it is a reality. It is a dream come true! Our home is a perfect residence, and we had been looking for more than three years before we found it. It would be unfair if I use a singular verb, or first person singular, and lock others outside of this mention by using “I” instead of “we” or “our.” It was a joint effort that resulted in finding the home that Habitat for Humanity made it possible for us to acquire. Had it not been for Habitat for Humanity providing us with resources and training that was incredibly valuable, we maybe wouldn’t have acquired it.
After attending the information session at the Habitat for Humanity office building located at 1954 University Avenue, I was thrilled by the information received and decided to apply for consideration. The journey was started in 2014 when I heard good and encouraging stories about Habitat for Humanity. These stories excited me, and together we were thrilled to attend the information session. It was in this session that we took a step and submitted our application. After the application was accepted, we were assigned to a counselor or a financial advisor who carefully reviewed our income and assured us that we qualified to purchase a Habitat-developed property or an open market property. The process was long and tedious, but with positive attitude and focused mind we did not give up. Instead, we worked hand in hand with the financial advisor and updated him with our working status until we qualified for preapproval for our mortgage loan. Good credit status is very crucial in the home purchase. This shows your capability of improving your home equity and the possibility to repay back the loan borrowed and make effective mortgage payments.
It is a long story to get where we are, but the ultimate success was attained after the goal was achieved, and now the home means everything in our family. It is a center of our meeting and a comfort zone. A home to us means a place to settle down and relax at the end of the day. A place that supports, covers, and provides us shelter. This place called home is a favorite environment where the family members share memories and feel most comfortable and peaceful. This is a blessed place that as family members we find more relaxation and comfort than any other place. In general, our home means more than mere words can explain.
Our home provides privacy that apartments cannot provide and promotes dignity to both parents and children, or even to the visitors who come to visit and spend time with our family and are housed here. Several generations that would live to cherish the memories and comfort that has been generated by the home. In simple terms the joy that is brought by acquiring the home is celebrated in ages by the family members who will live to appreciate the comfort that has been brought by having a home. A home that means everything to our family. This home defines who we are, and the meaning of who we are was brought into reality by Habitat for Humanity which, played a central role to ensure that no qualifying family or people will be left out without enjoying the free environment in a place called a home.
Habitat for Humanity is an organization that needs to be recognized by the government and, if possible, be given grants to promote the housing opportunities to all who are low-income families and to the qualifying individuals to acquire a place of comfort and hope. There are families out there who are suffering without hope of buying a home. Others like our family would have taken a long time to get one and feel home. That is why we say, “our home means a lot to us, more than words would explain, and this dream was made possible by Habitat for Humanity.”