Coming Home Again...And for the First Time
Still overwhelmed with the amount of unpacking they have to do, Brigette and her three teenage children nevertheless love getting settled into their new home.
Brigette was handed the keys to her home after a special Habitat double-home dedication ceremony with her new next-door neighbor, Irene, on February 25th. Brigette and her kids started moving in the same day.
This family is no stranger to moving and unpacking. In fact, over the past 15 years, they have lived in nine different places, once moving four times in under a year! Each time they moved, it seemed like they were paying more and more in rent. A hard working single mom, Brigette has worked as a church office manager for seven years. Despite her long-term employment, she wasn't able to afford a mortgage on her own and she was paying too much of her monthly income in rent.
"We were really struggling to find a place to live. There was nothing out there and the (places) that are out there, four or five (potential renters) are competing for them," Brigette says. She needed to find a permanent home for her family that she could afford. That's when she turned to Habitat Waukesha.
Ironically, the house they built with Habitat where they now live is just down the street from a house they lived in several years ago, a house they would still be living in if the owner hadn't needed to sell. "We're happy to be back in this area," Brigette says. "We love the neighborhood."
And boy, has the neighborhood changed since they left! In 2010, Habitat Waukesha developed a partnership with the city and other builders in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood. What used to be the site of an old abandoned building is now a thriving neighborhood that is home to eight Habitat partner families and six other families!
While living there before, Brigette and her kids watched some of the other Habitat houses being built, never imagining that they would own one in just a few years. Even after she completed the application to become a Habitat homeowner, Brigette said, "I thought it was one of those things like the lottery . . . like what are the chances?"
For Brigette, the chances were high. She now lives in a place that will be a permanent home not just to her own family, but to all of the families who have become homeowners in the neighborhood over the past few years. These families have put down roots and have become invested in their community. The children will be able to remain in the same school district throughout their education, instead of having to change schools every few years. The neighborhood will become stable without renters moving in and out. By revitalizing the neighborhood, Habitat supporters have helped to make a significant positive impact on the community.