Marie, Jean, Edwin, and Shania

Since moving to the United States from Haiti in 2003, Marie, mother of three, has always dreamed of home ownership. In fact, she first applied to a Habitat for Humanity homeowner program when she lived in West Palm Beach in 2012, but didn’t qualify. For her, having a home is all about the level of respect that it’ll afford her. Not only will she cherish having something that is her own, but she also believes that being a homeowner is something that others will respect her for.

A recurring mold problem, a hole in the ceiling of the shower, and regular roach infestations are just a few of the unresolved maintenance issues that Marie, her two daughters, and her brother have at their current apartment. As a family, they are tired of constantly having to rely on maintenance, who neglect to make critical repairs in a timely manner. Plus, they have to deal with their neighbors who play loud music and smoke in the facilities.

When they have their Habitat home, their affordable mortgage will enable Marie and her brother, Jean, to save more money and have the self-reliance to make their own home repairs. Plus, they will live in a safe neighborhood where they won’t have to worry about noise or the smell of smoke.

Marie’s daughter, Edwin, is 17 years old and is looking forward to her family finally having space and privacy. She is eager to decorate her and her sister Shania’s bedroom, but most of all she’s excited to see her mother happy and achieving her lifelong dream. 12-year-old Shania is a huge Tampa Bay Lightning hockey fan and has a close bond with her eldest sibling, Junior, a freshman studying business at USF.

Outside of working in merchandising at Bealls Inc., Marie enjoys singing in her church choir and gardening. With just a small outdoor space, she grows her plants in buckets on their apartment patio. But once they move into their home, Marie will be able to indulge more in her hobby. She plans to plant flowers and aloe vera in front of their house.

Now that she is so close to her dream of homeownership, Marie’s next aspiration is to someday retire on her own terms since she will soon feel fulfilled knowing that she left something to pass down to her children. “When I die, I’ll be happy to know that I left a house for my children. Even if they get married and decide to move out, I’ll feel accomplished that I gave them a home,” she said.