The Warmth of Coming Home
Melanie knows what it’s like to hit bottom.
During the family’s darkest days, their home was a single classroom in an abandoned school building. With no heat, Melanie and her four children, ages 5 to 11, slept huddled together in one bed to keep warm. The only working bathroom was down a double flight of stairs in another part of the deserted school.
“At night, it was so dark, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face,” Melanie recalls. She also remembers how useless and hopeless she felt during that desperate time. “We had fallen through a crack in society where, sometimes, poor people fall. I was failing as a parent, not even able to provide a decent place for my children to live,” she says.
Then Melanie found out about Habitat for Humanity and new hope was born in her family’s life. “Opportunity didn’t just knock, it shouted!” she laughs.
After applying and being accepted into Habitat’s program, Melanie began working to fulfill her 275 hours of sweat-equity. “Working toward homeownership was one of the most difficult things I have ever done,” she explains, “but the promise of a warm place to sleep and the look of anticipation on four tiny faces kept me going.”
Melanie and her young family moved into their safe, secure Habitat home on a muggy June day, when being cold was the furthest thing from their minds. But when winter came with a vengeance, as it always does in Ohio, Melanie and the kids were snug and warm.
Besides providing her with the opportunity to own her own simple, decent home, partnering with Habitat has also given Melanie new determination and personal strength.
“The day I received the keys to my new home, I was empowered to overcome any adversity I might ever face.”
Cassandra knew the old two-story home, with its cracked walls and moisture problems, wasn’t the best place to raise her two sons, but she didn’t know where else to go. Then, a devastating diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis left her facing the very real possibility of life in a wheelchair, and the family’s need for better housing – accessible housing – became even more urgent.
When Cassandra came to Habitat, she and her family were working through some difficult personal circumstances in addition to her diagnosis. Cassandra remembers struggling emotionally and spiritually, but found working with Habitat to be a healing experience. “Habitat helped me get my faith back,” she says simply.
Building her home proved to be a physically challenging, but rewarding process. “I wanted to give up so many times,” she recalls. “The doctors said I wouldn’t be able to help build the house and I was so determined to prove them wrong. And I did help build it, so that was a blessing.”
These days, Cassandra continues to recognize what a blessing her home is to her and her boys, and she no longer worries quite so much about being able to take care of them. She loves being a mom and doing laundry and other tasks around the house and is thankful for her accessible home that allows her to do so.
“This has given me my independence back,” she says with a smile.
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Habitat for Humanity of Greater Stark & Carroll Counties
2800 Leemont Ave. NW
Canton OH, 44709
Email us: email@example.com
Tuesday - Friday: 8:30am - 4pm
Saturday: 8am - 1pm
Monday and Sunday - Closed