Jessica smiling and hugging her two children, 15-year-old Amiyah and 1-year-old Noa, on the porch of their home.

Home is the key to a brighter future

For Jessica, there has never been anything more important than providing a safe and secure home for her children, 16-year-old Amiyah and 2-year-old Noah. But the single mom struggled to find decent and affordable housing.

The family’s rental had a leaking roof, an unstable foundation and mice. “We were living in a house that was basically uninhabitable,” Jessica says. Their street had dilapidated homes, empty lots, few neighbors and crime.

It was after Noah was born that Jessica decided to make a change. “I think that was a pivotal moment for me, when I thought about this baby crawling in these conditions and putting things in his mouth,” Jessica says. “That was my breaking point where I said, ‘I need to make a move,’ and Habitat was that move.”

Once Jessica was accepted into Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program, she and her children temporarily moved into her mother’s apartment so they could be in a safer environment.

While preparing to become a homeowner, Jessica enjoyed meeting future neighbors while working on the build site and found great value in Habitat’s homebuyer education classes. She can’t wait to apply what she learned in her new home. “I’ve had classes on budgeting, and I’ve had classes on home repairs and learning how to maintain your home,” she says. “I just feel like all those things are useful for someone like me who’s never owned a home before. I’m going to need those resources.”

Jessica with her hands over her mouth as she and her daughter walk into their new home for the first time.

A loving community

When she first walked through the front door of her Habitat home with Amiyah by her side, it felt like a whole new beginning. “I’m overwhelmed with joy,” Jessica says. “To see such happiness on my daughter’s face. She deserves it all.”

Amiyah is excited to finally have space to spread out and to be able to invite friends over. “To have my own room, my own privacy. Somewhere I can relax, just vibe and get stuff off my mind. Have friends come and sleep over. Everything a teenager usually would do,” she says.

Jessica is looking forward to having space to continue studying for her nursing degree, decorating her home, and hosting friends and family. Her new neighbors have already started reaching out and welcoming her into the community. “We’ve never had neighborhood gatherings and get-togethers,” she says. “I can definitely foresee those things happening here in this community.”

A safe place to grow

The stability and security that their new home provides means the world to Jessica. “This house, it’s everything to my family,” she says. “It’s the glue.” 

Jessica hopes her experience with Habitat helps her children understand the importance of building generational wealth through homeownership and inspires them to reach toward their dreams, too. “To be able to show my daughter that it’s possible and to make her proud of me, that’s the biggest thing for me,” Jessica says. “The baby doesn’t have many memories, but this is what he’ll know. He’ll always know that mom was a homeowner. That’s all he’ll know, and that’s a good thing, too.”