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The Families of Carney Place: Chapter Three

The Robles-Leon family
By Phil Kloer


The Robles-Leon family on the porch of their new home. Clockwise from upper left: Andrea, Samuel, Sammy and Luisa. Photo by Jeff Paul.


The Robles-Leon’s new Habitat home in Carney Place is almost done.
Photo by Jeff Paul.


Editor’s Note:
The Robles-Leon family will move into their home in Carney Place, a new subdivision of Habitat homes in Asheville, N.C., later this year. Andrea, their 19-year-old daughter, attends Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. She included comments from her mother Luisa, father Samuel and brother Sammy, 16, in this story of the Robles-Leon family’s journey to Habitat.

We came to the United States from Guadalajara, Mexico, eight years ago in search of a better life. My mother learned English and became a citizen three years ago, and my father is a legal resident. She is a housekeeper at Haverty’s Furniture and he is an auto mechanic.

When we moved here we bought a mobile home where we have lived for eight years. For the first eight months, my parents didn’t have a bed and slept on the floor in a sleeping bag.

We have two bedrooms, one for my parents and one for me, so my brother sleeps on a bed in the living room. It’s really crowded.

My mother saw an advertisement for Habitat at our church, St. Eugene’s Catholic Church, and she had heard from friends what a great program it was. She got the application but was nervous to turn it in.

Then when she did turn it in, she kept asking me to call make sure they got the application. When we found out we were approved she got very emotional and cried and cried and said “Thank God!” a lot.

We’ve gotten to know some of our new neighbors. The people who are going to be living next door to us have two little kids and we were joking that when they need a babysitter my brother and I can provide that.

Mom and I have worked some of our sweat equity hours at the ReStore, and my dad has worked on our house. He says that one of the things he enjoys most is meeting all the volunteers who are part of building the house. Every time they have lunch he will pray and thank them for all their hard work in building his house.

My dad says that everyone who makes up Habitat is always joyful and happy working for others. He said everyone treats each other like brothers and sisters. They don’t see race or a language barrier; they just see this community working together.

Read the entire story of The Families of Carney Place is following the families of Carney Place, the volunteers who build the houses and the Asheville, N.C., Habitat affiliate as the neighborhood moves from an abandoned field to a community of families living in their new homes. Check back for future installments.