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Homeowner changes misconceptions about Habitat

Linda DeStefano admits that she had a lot of misconceptions about Habitat for Humanity. “I thought Habitat helped people who were homeless or unemployed,” she says. She learned differently one day while she was sitting in the dentist’s chair, having her teeth cleaned.

Linda DeStefano poses outside of her soon-to-be-finished Habitat house in Marquette, Mich.

“One of the women in the office mentioned that she was considering applying,” Linda says. It was the first time Linda considered the possibility of being able to own her own home.

“My impression of Habitat changed a lot after being accepted as a homeowner,” Linda says.

Linda is building her house with the help of Marquette Habitat for Humanity in Marquette, Mich. Located in the Upper Peninsula, Marquette faces a very reduced building season due to weather, but the affiliate still manages to build six houses per year. This year Linda’s will be dedicated as part of the Jimmy Carter Work Project.

Linda works as a nurse and currently rents a home for herself and her 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Their house, though, is more than 100 years old, and it exhibits many of the problems older houses can have: poor insulation, leaks, sewage issues.

Her brand-new Habitat house will eliminate those problems. It will also be in a quieter neighborhood. And, as luck would have it, Elizabeth will be right next door to a good friend from school.

“I just can’t say enough good things about Habitat and the people who work with Habitat,” Linda says. “It’s changed me and how I want to be. I was shocked and surprised that people do this—give up their vacation time to help other people!

“It changes you. It makes you want to do more for the community and the world. Being involved in it makes you appreciate what you have in the end a lot more.”

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