‘We couldn’t have a house otherwise’ -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

‘We couldn’t have a house otherwise’

Guadalupe and Zoila Ramirez share their home with three sons.

Looking at the photographs that fill the walls of the Ramirez home, it is clear that family and friends are a priority for them.

For 30 years, Guadalupe and Zoila Ramirez have lived in the same one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, currently sharing the tiny space with their three sons. The boys—Daniel, 24, Ricardo, 18, and Roberto, 12 -- sleep in the bedroom and the parents sleep on the living room floor.

Ramirez is a construction worker by trade, and Zoila stays home to care for their Ricardo, who is autistic. She’s also active in a group of other Home Supportive Service Providers.

In addition to the cramped conditions, the apartment has a number of structural problems that Guadalupe must constantly repair. When he found out about Habitat’s house-building program on a Spanish-language television program, he thought this might be his chance to make a better life for his family.

“We never thought we would have the opportunity to be involved in this project,” he said, still in disbelief weeks after learning that his family had been selected to partner with Habitat. “We couldn’t have a house otherwise.”

Zoila was out of town attending a conference of home health-care providers when Guadalupe delivered the news that they had been selected to build a house as part of the 2007 Jimmy Carter Work Project.

“When my husband gave me the news, I was in my room and I just looked up and said to God, ‘I can’t believe you picked me to get a house,’ ” said Zoila.

“I think we’re going to be happier,” she added. “It’s a gift from God.”

Zoila looks forward to sharing their new home with family and friends and has already started getting to know her future neighbors.

“Although some of them didn’t speak Spanish,” she said, “we all got along really well.”