FINDING A SILVER LINING
At the start of the summer, five of our current Habitat Chicago homeowners were still hard at work preparing to close on their new homes. In what is already a demanding process, they had to overcome the additional obstacles of COVID-19 to complete their closings. Now settling into their new homes, we chatted with two of our newest homeowners, Denae and Shaunavera, to see what opportunities the initial months of homeownership have provided them and what owning a home has meant to them during the pandemic.
In these trying times, homeownership has provided Denae and Shaunavera a similar opportunity: to relax and feel safe in a way that their previous renting conditions would not have allowed. Both Shaunavera and Denae have chosen to focus on the positive, spending more time with their children and making their new homes spaces that are special and uniquely theirs.
We have seen how close Denae is with her son since they came in to the office for the first time to turn in her application – a bond that has continued to grow since they moved into their new home. Denae told us, “My home during quarantine has been the most personal time for me and my son. We get to enjoy our personal space more than usual.” Denae has been using the extra time at home with her son to make it their own, on their own terms, "We were in no rush to try to unpack because we want everything to go in its own place.”
The stability of homeownership allowed for Denae to take the time to “put her own touch” on her space and make it “feel homey.” While Denae was intentionally putting together and personalizing the interior of her home, she also saw this opportunity as a time to “relax, unwind, and express her feelings and creativity all in one.”
Having her own home has provided Shaunavera with a safe haven to spend time with family. She found a silver lining during the challenging circumstances of quarantine, choosing to see this as an opportunity to connect with her children. Describing what her home has meant to her, she says that, “Nothing’s better than being in my new home with my children during quarantine. Our home provides a safe space for the children to enjoy summer.” With her children having to spend much more time at home, she is grateful that they safely can play outside in their backyard and just be kids.
One of Shaunavera’s fondest memories in her home so far has been working on her garden and seeing the plants of her labor. She was ecstatic when after only a few weeks of moving into her home, “[her] beautiful pink day lilies bloomed in the front yard!”
Homeownership has allowed Denae and Shaunavera the space to connect with their families and find comfort and stability in the face of uncertainty. Habitat Chicago is gearing up to recruit our next cohort of homeowners, with the application cycle beginning in October. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Affordable Homeownership Program and add your name to our interest list to receive information on how to apply.