The Artis family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

The Artis family

‘A place of our own’

Like a number of her new neighbors on Clay Street, Lakreasha Artis’ job is to care for others. For more than four years, Artis has worked at Bay Woods of Annapolis, an assisted-living and retirement home. Most of her work as a geriatric nursing assistant involves care for dementia patients. “I like helping people, caring for them and keeping them safe,” she said.

Safety is very important to this single mother of two boys: Omar, 10, and Trequan, 8. The young family used to live in the Harbor House public housing complex. “There were always folks hanging out. I just didn’t like walking through that,” she said.

Her mother, Kim Brown, encouraged her to apply to the Habitat program. Brown also had applied at Habitat in the hope of being part of the Clay Street project.

“She told me to try to get out of public housing. She kept telling me, ‘Just try it; it won’t hurt,” Artis said.

Mom was right: Both women are now part of the Clay Street project. Artis will be the youngest person in her family to own a home.

This new home means a lot to Artis and her boys. Her sons share a room, and Artis says Omar is a really good older brother to Trequan, who was born with cri du chat syndrome. In their new home, Omar will have a room of his own and be able to have friends over to stay.

Artis knows how important it is to have a little space to oneself. She grew up with four brothers and a sister in the Robinwood public housing community. She speaks openly about feeling confined in public housing, with its surveillance cameras and constant reports on who is coming and going.

Her new home represents freedom from worry and freedom to make her home truly her own. “I can’t wait to decorate my home,” she said.

As a busy working mother, her favorite thing is to have a quiet evening at home reading or playing with the boys.

Soon she’ll do that in her own home. “I am really, really excited. I just can’t wait to move in. This is a place of our own.”