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Building Community Blog

Simone was nine. Ever since her mom, Betty, had gotten a divorce, they had been moving frequently in search of an affordable place to stay. Moving meant Simone and her older sister had to transfer to different schools. And it meant they often lived in cramped apartments with family.

“My sister and I shared a room, we shared a bed, we shared practically everything,” Simone says.

It didn’t feel stable.

A few months ago, we highlighted the referral partnership between Model Cities and Twin Cities Habitat. Today, we’re excited to share an update from one of the first families who chose to prepare for Habitat homeownership by partnering with Model Cities (one of several Twin Cities Habitat Referral Partners).

Kathy and David will never forget their first night in their Habitat home. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and they had closed on the home earlier that day. Leaving their two young boys with David’s parents, they grabbed their sleeping bags and some food for dinner and went to their new home—just the two of them.

“It was so surreal,” says Kathy. “Everything we did – turning on a light, eating dinner on the floor, doing dishes in the sink – reminded me that this was actually my home.”

Although Habitat for Humanity is probably best known for our homebuilding and homeownership programs and services, we also offer Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention support for residents of Minneapolis, and health and safety repair services for existing low-income homeowners in the Twin Cities metro area through our A Brush with Kindness (ABWK) program.

 

Even being around Mary for a short period of time, I can say that she is surely a warm, welcoming, funny, and humble human being... with maybe just a touch of spitfire in her, too. Mary has lived in Minnesota nearly all her life after moving here from Mississippi when she was a young girl. She has owned her house in Minneapolis for 57 years, which is also home to Mary's son, her sister, and her brother. 

It has been several months since we dedicated our first few Habitat homes in the city of Hugo, and the families have since settled into their new routines in their new community. We recently caught up with homeowners Mohamed and Kinsi, who live in one of the Habitat townhomes. They shared their Habitat journey with us, so that we could share it with all of you.

Last week, more than 50 volunteers, sponsors, and staff gathered in St. Paul to celebrate Huda, Shamis and Aligele's new home.

Huda, Shamis and Aligele, along with her brothers Abdulrakib, Abdulrhman and Ahmed, are excited about moving into their new home. After growing up in Somalia, and having to move frequently in Minnesota, they are looking forward to having a safe home to live in. Huda’s brothers are most excited about having their own rooms and a quiet space for studying.

Huda shared her gratitude for everyone who helped to make his family's home a reality.

“Our futures have already changed educationally, financially, and morally. With a home of our own there will be no more moving from country to country or city to city. We will finally have a stable, constant home that will be ours forever.”

“Yaa mana ofii.” This Oromo language phrase is very common in Ethiopia. It means, “home is everything.” Yemane and Bizunesh, who bought their new Habitat home in West St. Paul in July, say the phrase comes from living desperate lives in Ethiopia. "It means home is where hunger and pain reside. But it also means home is where joy and love live.” Yemane says, “Everything in your life is sheltered by home. It can mask your need, but it also protects everything you have, especially your family.”

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