I have been associated with Habitat first as a volunteer, as have all of our staff members, then as a part-time employee, and for the past several years full-time. A significant part of my position is as the Family Manager. This means I work with our partner families, handling everything from the initial selection through to the day they pay off their mortgage.
Our Family Selection Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers, works diligently to ensure that families selected into our program are families who can succeed as homeowners. Once selected a family puts in a minimum of 300 “sweat equity” hours working on building homes, in our ReStore, at events, and attending classes to learn how to be a successful homeowner. Upon completion of their home build, we become their mortgage company. I like to say that, “We are a mortgage company, but we are a compassionate mortgage company.” Because we are able to handle our mortgages in-house we are able to keep the personal touch to help our families be successful.
The difference homeownership makes in the life of a child is almost beyond measuring. Some things our partner children have said add to my job satisfaction. Some examples: Upon getting her first “own room” a child went down on her knees and said, “Thank you, Jesus.” “I have my own yard to play in now.” “We can have a dog!” Passing our building, “Look, Mommy, that’s the place that makes dreams come true.” All of this plus the hugs I get pretty regularly make Habitat a place I can look forward to going to each day.