Almost Home

For some, this is a different kind of crisis . . .

With each passing day, we all find ourselves trying to adapt to the measures required to combat the spread of COVID-19. In countries and cultures all around the world, “stay at home” is the message of the moment. “Shelter in Place.”

It’s the right thing to do, and if we are all able to flatten the curve, we know that we will have, together, saved countless lives.

But all of us at Habitat Broward also know that there are far too many families for whom this isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. The uncertainty so many of us feel today, these families have felt for a lifetime — if not generations.

Where for many “shelter in place” means figuring out logistics and adjusting mindsets, for others it only exacerbates the conditions with which they have struggled for so long. Houses already not healthy because of leaks or mold. Homes already overcrowded because the only way to afford rent or save up money is for extended family to stay together in a too-small space. Homes that subject families to violence. Spaces that shelter, but only just.

As the economic shocks from this crisis ripple out, these same families will be hardest hit. They always are. For far too many, as businesses have closed and hourly workers have lost their jobs, it has already begun. These are the families with whom we partner.

They are going to need our hand up now more than ever. And now more than ever, our work — much like flattening the curve — will require all of us, together.

The nine families being profiled below have spent more than a year working towards their dream of homeownership and now their dream is within sight. Despite the COVID-19 disruptions to our nation, Habitat continues to work toward ensuring they move from Almost …to HOME. If you wish to make a contribution to help us get these families home you can do so here.

The Richardsons

Latoya Richardson is a 1st grade teacher. In her words, “I try to give my students love and encouragement to help them succeed.” Latoya is mom to her son and two nieces who have lived with her for the past six years. Latoya feels very thankful to finally have an affordable home. “This has been a blessing. Our home will provide the security and stability my children need to help them grow.”

The Williams

Elementary school nurse, Sabrina Williams, serves others by providing first aid to little children’s bodies when they fall, scrape or just plain hurt. She loves her job. Her family, including a special needs child – one of four she has adopted, enjoys gatherings, being a part of Friendship Baptist Church and going to the movies. Sabrina has taught her children how to relax by listening to music and reading. Sabrina and her family are excited to finally have a home that meets their needs and “offers a brighter future for her children.”

The Palmers

Tonisha Palmer is determined to give her family a better life by setting goals and going for them. She is a cashier and customer service employee of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Her primary goal has been to own a home so she can provide stability and safety for her children. Her second goal is to go back to college to finish her degree in elementary education to become a teacher. Tonisha’s three children currently live in a cramped apartment. Her daughter practices cheerleading and her son likes to play football. Baby John loves to watch his big sister cheer and his brother play football. The family likes to eat together and spends their down time listening to music and dancing. Tonisha’s goal of becoming a homeowner is just within reach…so close to coming true. Next up: finishing her degree.

The Sheffield-Williams

For Nicholas Sheffield and Charmaine Williams, the perfect day is sitting on the porch, holding hands and watching their kids. Nicholas works for the City of Hollywood as a Heavy Equipment Operator, tying down containers at Port Everglades. Charmaine manages the day to day operations to keep her household running smoothly. The family enjoys swimming and exploring new places. They currently live in small apartment and share one bath. Charmaine and Nicholas’ three sons are excited to have their own rooms and a yard to play in. Everyone in the family feels blessed to be a part of the Habitat Broward program. Nicholas always dreamed about owning a home. He will be the first person in his family to achieve that goal.

The Hall-Vassells

Sharita Hall and Victor Vassell’s bond is strong…like oak. They are very close with their families and have lived with Sharita’s mom, brother and sister in a townhouse for the past seven years. The couple works hard. Sharita is an Economic Self-Sufficiency Specialist for the Florida Department of Children and Families. Victor is a field technician at Bermex where he reads utility meters. Both want to go back to school and further their education.

Victor enjoys watching football and basketball. Sharita likes to read and spend time with her family. Their little apples definitely didn’t fall far from their tree. Shariya loves reading and sports and participates in cheerleading. Shamar enjoys riding his bike and plays football and basketball with his dad.

The family is thankful for each other and what they have. Sharita and Victor are the first in their families to become homeowners and are excited to be a part of the Habitat program. They feel the education and tools provided will make them be successful homeowners. Most of all they are happy to have a place they can call home.

The Taylors

Myesha Taylor sprints towards her goals, and she is almost at the finish line. Myesha and her children like running and are members of the Lauderhill Track Club. When they aren’t running, they enjoy creating silly videos and making each other laugh.

The Taylor’s currently live in a small apartment. Cameron, Angel, Jaycee, and Malaysia sleep in a tiny room that only fits two beds. But that just motivates Myesha more. She used to work the night shift from 6 pm until 3 am as a manager at Walmart. But, last September, Myesha’s 2nd dream came true when she secured a job at the USPS. Now, she says, she is able to spend more time with her children especially her youngest who has been diagnosed with Autism. Myesha’s favorite memories are seeing her children’s smiles on Christmas morning, and when they win awards at school. They cannot wait to create new memories in their very own home.

Being a part of the Habitat Broward makes Myesha feel happy and thankful. She is first in her family to become a homeowner, and proud of her hard work. Her next goal is to save money for her children’s college education.

The Smiths

For some, “the struggle is real” is just an expression, but for Lakeisha Smith and many Habitat families it is reality. Lakeisha’s divorce from her children’s father last year has been hard onher and her four children. The family currently lives in cramped quarters, sharing a two bedroom, two bath apartment with Lakeisha’s brother, his girlfriend and baby.

Lakeisha doesn’t receive support from her children’s father and is her children’s sole provider. She works as a staffing coordinator, matching caregivers with meaningful work at Firstlantic Healthcare Agency. Despite their hardships, the family loves to be together. Lakeisha’s children love to play sports. Her sons love playing football and her daughter is looking forward to joining the cheerleading squad.

Being involved with Habitat Broward makes the family feel blessed and fortunate. Lakeisha’s biggest dream is to own a home and for her kids to grow into responsible, happy individuals. Homeownership will give them a place to grow as a family while creating lifelong friendships with their neighbors.

The Jones

Shequilla Jones has been known to light up rooms. A ray of sunshine, she spreads warmth with her infectious smile and sense of humor. Despite being a single mother, she doesn’t talk about struggles. “Life is what you make it,” she says. She believes that everything is a lesson in life, and she teaches her children to learn from their experiences.

Shequilla is the proud mom to five children. Her sons enjoy playing football and video games together. Her daughters like to ride their scooters through the neighborhood, and the youngest loves playing with her Hatchimals toys. The family works together to achieve their goals and are proud of their accomplishments. In addition to becoming a Habitat  Broward family, her eldest, James has received a full football scholarship to Tennessee State University. The family can’t wait to move into their new home. Surprisingly, It is across the street from Shequilla’s grandmoher’s house! She says homeownership will provide the family with a sense of stability they have never before experienced.

The Cunninghams

Tashaundra Cunningham works full time as a Certified Broward County Public Schools Teacher. She also has a second job with Boys and Girls Clubs as a leader of youth programs. Tashaundra shares that she has always had to work hard for what she has, and for what she feels she must provide for her son. When she first heard about the chance to own a Habitat home, she knew it could change their lives. But she did not make it on her first try, so she took a second job to increase her income and tried again. The second time was a charm. In fact, she got her acceptance call on Christmas Eve. “It was the best Christmas present ever!” she exclaims. Now Tashaundra is almost home, in a secure house with an affordable mortgage. “Now that is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving,” she beams.

Help Us Get Them Home

If you wish to make a contribution to help us get these families home you can do so at the above link.