Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Teressa had always viewed her home as a place for her children to grow-up. The house had given her a lifeline, a foundation that her and her young children could build their lives on. Even in 1991, before the cost of land blew up in Matthews, as a single mother of two children, Teressa could not afford to buy a home on her own. But by partnering with Habitat Matthews for their fourth ever home build, Teressa had the opportunity to give her children a bright and stable future.
It was not an opportunity she wanted to waste. For twenty years, as her children grew and thrived in their family’s Habitat home, she dutifully made the monthly payments. In February of 2013, she stood in front of our Board of Directors and celebrated – she had made her final mortgage payment.
Teressa has been in her home almost thirty years. It's been ten years since she officially paid off her mortgage. In the beginning, Teressa was able to keep up with the repairs and regular maintenance on her home. She had
money set aside for when an emergency hit and her
children were around to help her.
But now Teressa and her house are both older, and her children have homes of their own to take care of. She tried to keep up with all of the work a house regularly needs, but as an older woman living on her own, she found herself more and more often in a situation where the repairs couldn't get done. Maintenance was becoming more complicated, and for a lot of things she either didn't know how or didn't have the physical ability to complete them.
At some point, the roof had begun to leak. She knew it was a problem that needed to be fixed. Her home was old enough that she would probably need to replace her entire roof, but it always took a back seat to other expenses – like putting food on the table and gas in her car.
But then what started out as a small leak got bigger and bigger, and Teressa realized it was something that would have to be addressed.
It began to damage the ceiling, then the floor. It rotted away her front porch. If that wasn't enough, while she was desperately trying to save enough to repair her roof, her water heater went out. What had started out as seemingly small issues were suddenly going to costs thousands of dollars to repair – more than she could handle. Teressa needed another lifeline.
For Habitat, our homeowners are more than mortgage holders - they are our partners. Our success is dependent on theirs. When the application for our Critical Home Repair Program appeared in Teressa’s mailbox, she remembered how Habitat had helped her build the foundation for her past - could they help her repair her future? She had let her roof become an insurmountable roadblock to her continued success as a homeowner, but she knew that it was not an impossible one.
Today, Teressa’s home has a new roof, the damage in her ceiling and floor is repaired, and it is equipped with a new water heater. As Critical Home Repair partner, Teressa worked one on one with our Construction Manager and Homeowner Services Coordinator for continuing education on home maintenance to update her skills and was also put in contact with local, reputable service providers for future issues. Our Critical Home Repair program did more than fix her home - it empowered her to keep building, and repairing, the future.