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Updated: Apr 12

Future Greater Matthews Habitat homeowner Ryan loves sharing his passion for cooking with his two children, 10-year-old Connor and 8-year-old Izzy. Their favorite? Spaghetti and meatballs. "That is a weekly staple," he says, laughing. "And they get upset with me when we skip it." Even though Ryan works as a line cook for a country club, as a single father, he understands the importance of the three of them cooking together and sharing meals as a family.

Currently, Ryan is renting a two-bedroom townhome in Matthews. While he can afford the rent, the unit is not sized appropriately for his family, with the children sharing one bedroom "The one good thing about it is that it's affordable – my rent right now is $850, so I'm very lucky. That being said, it's a two bedroom, so my kids share a bedroom. And with them getting older, being a boy and a girl, they're going to want their own spaces eventually."

However, there are other problems. "It's old, it's got some structural issues that I've tried to have addressed and just haven't been. It's got original windows, linoleums coming up all over the place, the counters are kind of settling and getting a little wonky. It's affordable, but it's not the nicest of places, or the safest", Ryan explains. His particular safety concerns involve their bathtub - located on the second floor. "They didn't do the greatest job of sealing the bath tub and as the kids were younger, they were taking baths and splashing water out it was getting under the floors and that's the part that's kind of unsafe. It's also starting to rust out around some of the drains and stuff….our bathroom floor is actually a little, squishy." With the tub being located on the second floor, Ryan worries that, at some point, it will fall through the ceiling. "I've had it looked at three different times," he explains. "Each time a guy will come take a picture and say 'ooh, carpentry needs to be involved in this one' and then I just never hear back….I really think they're just planning on dealing with it when I move out, but with the affordability of the place I've kind of just hung on."

But by partnering with Greater Matthews Habitat to build and buy his own home, Ryan looks forward to the family having their own safe space. He plans to improve their meals together by growing his own fruit and vegetables. " I'm really excited about hopefully being able to do a garden. Every year I do tomatoes in pots and they never do that well, but I keep trying every single year. So I'd really like to be able to grow my own produce and have a nice little section that I can make my own garden. And then also, doing landscaping…just watching the progress of growing all the stuff and taking care of it and having a beautiful garden out front and out back. I look forward to being able to do that with my own space."

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