A home with room to grow
Sharnita applied to become a Habitat homeowner because she wanted to provide a better life for her children. “Having a home where my kids feel peaceful, loved and safe is the most important thing to me,” says the mother of five and U.S. Air Force veteran.
The future homeowner and her family live together in a small apartment. Space is at a premium, especially on family fun nights. “There are a lot of us,” says Sharnita, who is a disabled veteran. “When we play board games or watch a movie, we’re all stacked up on top of each other. Soon, we’ll be able to spread out and enjoy our quality time together.”
The kids can’t wait to explore their new home. The eldest, 13-year-old Demetrous, is on the football team and plans to practice his passing skills in the backyard. Sharnita looks forward to having peace of mind, knowing her children are growing up in a safe and stable neighborhood. “This home is a godsend,” she says. “It’s what we’ve been praying for.”
Sharnita makes her dreams come true
Sharnita first stood out to Fort Hood Area Habitat’s CEO, Ken Cates, when she attended an information session he facilitated at her church.
“Her eyes lit up when we talked about the purpose for sweat equity and how it gives homeowners the skills to maintain their home,” says Ken, who is a U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard veteran. “Sharnita is like any veteran. They see the mission, they become passionate about it, and they do whatever it takes to make it happen. That’s been her attitude since day one.”
As soon as she was approved, Sharnita hit the ground running to complete her sweat equity hours. Even ongoing health issues couldn’t stop her from achieving her dream of homeownership.
“I had a lot of health problems, but I still volunteered whether it was cleaning up or helping customers in the Habitat ReStore,” says Sharnita. “This has been a life-changing experience. I tell people that if I did it, they can too. Just don’t lose hope.”
A lifetime of service
Sharnita and her family will be living in a 16-home community planned by Fort Hood Area Habitat for both veteran and non-veteran families, which will be built out over the next three years. A grant from Wells Fargo is supporting the construction of three homes: Sharnita’s home, a home for a U.S. Army family of seven and a cottage-style house for a U.S. Army veteran.
“It’s our mission to create more affordable housing solutions across the nation, and ensuring veterans have access to decent housing is a critical part of that strategy,” says Jeff Chavannes, military community and housing programs officer at Wells Fargo and retired U.S. Army veteran. “It only makes sense to give back to those who have given so much to our country.”
Ken agrees. “When we build alongside our veteran homeowners, it’s a way of saying thank you for your sacrifice,” he says. “Homeownership provides a strong foundation for veterans to continue to make meaningful contributions to their communities, support each other, and build a better future for themselves and their families.”
A new start
“I love decorating,” Sharnita says. She has an array of color schemes saved to her phone, but she’s most excited about the possibility of a bold, blue front door.
The kids are dreaming up their own plans, too. Nine-year-old Aaliyah, the only girl in a sea of brothers, has asked for a pink-, purple- and teal-themed room with inspirational posters covering the walls. Five-year-old T’Challa has been busy hatching plans for endless games of hide and seek with his 7-year-old brother Jariyah, and 11-year-old Elijah is looking forward to discovering the best places to zip around on his scooter in the new neighborhood.
“I always had vivid dreams that we’d have a beautiful home with room for the kids to run around and play, but then I would wake up,” says Sharnita. “But I kept my faith. Now it’s our time.”