Updated: Apr 12
Holland knows that sometimes a change in perspective can change your life. Her first experience with that change happened when she became involved with another local nonprofit, Common Heart. She credits their program with teaching her a better way to think about her finances and setting her up on a pathway to success. "Sometimes it's hard to pick out things when you're going through things.", she explains. "When you're in poverty, you're living day to day; you're just trying to survive. So, you're not really thinking about the outcome – you can't really plan to save money for a tire that might go out on your car. But they gave me a different mindset, to kind of, think a little different."
That change in perspective led Holland to the Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program, where she will become the first homeowner in her family after she helps build her house and begin paying the affordable mortgage.
To Holland, becoming a homeowner shows just how far she has come in her life. "Yes, I want my children to have their own room. Yes, of course, I want more than one bathroom. But the bigger picture is showing that it can be done if you really apply yourself."
Currently, Holland and her three children, Anthony (15), Aliah (13), and Asiah (10), are living in a rental home in Matthews. At first, she had been excited about the rental - houses for rent in her price range are rare. "There was a lot of things I wasn't looking at when I got the house," she says, describing the many issues with her current rental.
The roof is well over 30 years old and is in serious need of replacement. As a result, the ceiling leaks, which causes mold to grow in the house. The mold issue is the worst in her daughter Aliah's room. Holland wipes the walls down every two weeks with bleach, but it only helps so much. "At first, it wasn't a big issue, but now she's starting to cough. So she doesn't really sleep in her room. She'll either sleep with me, or she'll sleep on the couch."
In addition, the rental has severe plumbing issues due to an improperly maintained septic tank. Holland is unable to wash clothes and shower at the same time because it will overflow the tank. When washing dishes, she has to unscrew her pipes, let the water drain, and then finish. And the family can only flush the toilet in their one bathroom a few times each day or risk further overflow problems.
Now that she's been selected to become a Greater Matthews Habitat homeowner, Holland is looking forward to making a home all her own and sharing that experience with her children. Everything that came before has just been one more step on her and her family's path. "This is our journey, this is our story, this is everything."