Current Partner Families
Meet the families we’ve partnered with in Madison & Clark Counties!
Future Habitat homeowner Carlos McGill has been wowed by what Habitat for Humanity has done to restore and build homes. Now he’s on the cusp of building his future home with the organization and the easy going, 35 year old Disc Jockey is rolling with it.
It’s with gratitude and optimism that Carlos started out the New Year, and it’s surely a gift to his 13 year old daughter, Destiny who will reap the benefits of secure housing. Looking forward to his future Habitat home is already affecting Carlos’ day to day living as he finds facing the inevitable challenges of daily life easier.“It’s been very motivating to keep you going even when things are down. It’s like things are actually going good in your life.”
It hasn’t been easy being a single parent. Since 2012, Carlos has had full custody of Destiny, which prompted the Richmond native to move back home close to his mother and where the cost of living was more reasonable. Carlos had never thought to apply for a home loan though.
But seeing with his own eyes how great a Habitat home can be, motivated Carlos to homeownership.
Carlos was picking up a friend at a home in Richmond that had been constructed by Habitat. Upon arriving, Carlos’ friend remarked that they were standing in a Habitat constructed home and asked if he knew about Habitat. Carlos knew of Habitat for Humanity, but seeing this gem of a house was a complete surprise.
“I was like, this is nice!” recalls Carlos in a smooth tone that belied his surprise. “I only met him once or twice and I said, ‘Man, how do you do that?’ My and his situation were very similar, we were both single fathers.”
Carlos asked for the phone number and without hesitation he contacted Habitat to see about a home for himself and Destiny. A week later Carlos had applied to partner with Habitat’s Madison and Clark County affiliate and a month later he was accepted as a Habitat partner.
Two years have passed since and Carlos recalls that his friend of a friend mentioned that a Habitat build can take years. While Carlos is looking at a three year stretch from acceptance to finished home, it’s been rich with opportunities to serve and even fulfilled some childhood desires along the way.“When I was a little kid I remember that I always wanted to help people out,” says Carlos. “I remember I used to say, ‘When I get rich, I’m going to give all these people money and help out however I can.”
Carlos found himself in the right place, because at Habitat future homeowners have plenty of opportunity to help out. Each home recipient is required to work at least 350 “sweat equity hours” in which either they or their family and friends work on Habitat home construction, not just their own home. Future homeowners also meet their sweat equity requirement by the hours they spend in the home readiness and financial education classes that Habitat requires of all their homeowners.
The brightest highlight for Carlos so far has been serving alongside Habitat staff and volunteers as they worked to restore a home for a single mother and her two children.
“It was amazing to see a home that looked like it was going to get bulldozed down. It looked like it should have” says Carlos. “Habitat stripped it down and built it to look like a brand new home. That house looked really good. I was like, I would move in there!”
Carlos loves people, all kinds of people, and loves helping. As a Disc Jockey he’s naturally surrounded by people all the time. The time with Habitat staff, volunteers and other future homeowners at the restoration project was simply another great experience where his expectations were blown away.
“Watching everybody come together, all the different days and watching all the people participating to make somebody’s life better,” recalls Carlos, “it was really amazing.”
Amazing people, solid workmanship and the construction of a secure and beautiful home. This is most certainly what Carlos and Destiny can count on for the year 2018.
“You might be down but you’re never out. Work hard, keep trying until you make it.”
That theme is evident throughout her life and is a trait she is diligently imparting to her children.
Kara (15), DJ (13), and Kianna (8) are the driving force behind Kristine applying to become a Habitat homeowner. Currently the family of 4 lives in a three-bedroom apartment built in the 70’s, where Kara and Kianna share a bedroom. “The space is our biggest problem,” says Kristine. “There’s 7 years between the girls and expecting them to share a bedroom doesn’t always make for the most peaceful home life.”
Becoming a Habitat homeowner is important to Kristine because of what it will show her children. “It will really make them proud to see how far we’ve come, all the obstacles we’ve overcome together. I want them to see that they can achieve whatever dream they want, so I have to show them they can by doing it myself.”
Kristine knows she is not the only one who is overcoming adversity in order to pursue her dream and she encourages others to apply to be a Habitat homeowners. “It’s a great program. The steps seem like a lot at first, but they really help. They have a lot of important lessons for all homeowners, not just Habitat homeowners. Everyone deserves the opportunity and the sense of pride that comes with homeownership.” She also encourages anyone thinking about getting involved with Habitat by volunteering or donating to go for it. “You would not know how much a little you give means to people like me who never thought we’d be standing here just months away from a new home. An hour, ten dollars, it has a huge impact on the lives of families that really need Habitat. I don’t know where else you could make an hour or ten dollars go as far as with Habitat.”
Kristine would like for everyone, not just her children, to learn from her experiences. She truly believes there is nothing you can’t accomplish if you just try hard enough.
Esther McMillan & Dustin Smith
“When you look around at the other families and volunteers on site you can see a big weight being lifted off of everyone’s shoulders,” says Esther. “It’s an equal playing field at Habitat.”
With a safe, energy efficient home and an affordable mortgage Esther will be able to plan for her and her family’s future. Esther and Dustin’s hard work will afford their son, Christian, the opportunity to grow up in a safe, stable home.
“When my son grows up, I want him to know that you can achieve anything no matter where you come from,” Esther says.