Michelle’s job as a Bridal Consultant at Bed Bath & Beyond has been more fun since she was approved for her Habitat home in the Crescent Magnolia neighborhood, as she is now able to take some of her own advice.
“I love helping couples have fun and decide what they should put on their registry and how to set up a home,” said Michelle. “I’ve been getting better at space-saving ideas, as I am preparing to downsize myself.”
Michelle currently lives in a second-floor apartment unit that has been undergoing costly updates, which is causing her rent to increase unexpectedly and at an unaffordable rate. Not only is she excited to move into her own single-story affordable home, but she’s also excited to be part of a senior community from the ground up.
“Senior housing is a challenge, with many places in the area having 5-10 year long waiting lists. With Habitat, I’ve already met so many of my future neighbors. I know we’ll be a community who will not only do things together around Hillsborough, but check on each other which is really special.”
John spent most of his career working in construction, so being on the Habitat job site is second nature for him. Although he isn’t able to do as much construction work these days, he loves being on site and talking with the people working on his home.
“I love people and I love that I get to interact with so many different types of people,” John said about his favorite task: greeting each volunteer as they arrive on site and check in.
John heard about Habitat’s senior housing program from several places, including his church, the Efland-Cheeks Community Center, and the Orange County Department on Aging. He was excited to learn more about the opportunity to own a home that he and his wife could age in, so he applied and was accepted!
The couple lives in a first-floor unit, but the apartment itself is not very friendly for older adults. John’s wife has dementia, and their current apartment will not allow him to take care of her or for her to age in place.
With their new Habitat home, not only will John and his wife be able to socialize in a safe neighborhood, but they will also live in an accessible, affordable home. “I’ll be able to give quality care at our home and keep us together longer,” said John. “Family is more important than anything else.”
Leola loves to spend time with her family. With five siblings, four grandchildren, and two adult children all mostly living in the area, she gets her fill of family time. “We love to cook and go to the park together. It’ll be nice to have my own kitchen and all of the common outdoor space to spend time with them in,” she says about spending time with her grandchildren. She can’t wait to move into her new Habitat home and have all her family over to visit.
She currently lives with some relatives in an older family home. The house has wear and tear which is starting to make it unsafe. She also has to share most living spaces and has no personal space to call her own. After hearing about Habitat and the senior homeownership program from a friend, she applied to “see what would happen” and has been excited about the process since acceptance.
“It was now or never with owning my own home. This is a great opportunity for me and I wouldn’t have had a chance without Habitat,” says Leola. “I’m already thinking about what I’m going to make for Christmas dinner next year!”