We Build Self-reliance
"Even now that it's paid off-- this house is still perfect."
In the summer of 2017, Don and Cindy made the final payment on their DuPage Habitat Home. It was a surreal moment, sprinkled with excitement and relief. They thought, “Thank God, we made it through.”
A little over 20 years earlier, Cindy had read about DuPage Habitat in the newspaper. They wanted a house so badly, but had met hardship at every turn. Don was self-employed which made getting a normal loan nearly impossible. Don says, “We had three kids in a two-bedroom apartment, all three kids in one room. We knew we had to get something else. We couldn’t afford a bigger apartment; we knew that getting a house was the best way to go. But I didn’t make enough to get a loan. It was very frustrating and very hurtful on my part because I could not provide for my family.”
Cindy called the DuPage Habitat office to get on the waiting list. Just when they were about to give up on the idea, the paperwork finally went through and they got the call: They were accepted into the DuPage Habitat Home Ownership Program. When they became homeowners, some things changed, but some were exactly the same. “Our location changed, but we were still a family. No matter where you live, you’re a family. But the fact that we could actually have a permanent place to live – that was a big deal,” Cindy says.
“As I was growing up, we moved a lot. I didn’t think much of it then. But when it came to this family, I didn’t want to move a lot,” Don explains. “I wanted them to be in one spot and call it ‘home’ where they could feel the security. So our lives did change when we were accepted, because all of a sudden, the dream was going to come true.”
Cindy and Don have experienced a bounty of gratitude in the past 20 years. Don says, “Since the day we moved into the house, there has not been a week gone by where we didn’t say, ‘Thank you God for this house, it’s perfect.’ Even now that it’s paid off – this house is still perfect.” Cindy mirrors this excitement. “Getting a home through Habitat, instead of a bank, was different because we understood the blessing we had received. Our gratitude factor was very high.”
Building a decent place to live made Don proud and put his family on a new path. One that has empowered him to no longer feel ashamed. The newfound confidence and independence gained when a family partners with DuPage Habitat to build a place they can call home is so often the beginning of a lasting transformation.