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July 19, 2016

Curtis & Family Escape the Poverty Trap With Stable Home

When you live paycheck-to-paycheck, everything gets more expensive. Curtis is a perfect example of this cycle that traps many working class people.

The trailer Curtis and his family lived in two years ago had only two bedrooms—for a family of five.

Eventually they found a larger house to rent in Cornelius—but it was old and in disrepair. The state of that house ended up costing Curtis a lot more than his monthly rent. Leaky plumbing meant higher water bills. No central heat meant sky-high power bills for space heaters that barely kept them warm last winter in a drafty house lacking insulation.

And when paying the utility bills meant Curtis didn’t make the rent on time, he got hit with late fee–and the plumbing problems still weren’t addressed.

This is the trap created by a lack of affordable housing. This is the trap that Curtis and his family are escaping by partnering with Our Towns Habitat for Humanity by building their own home. Curtis’ commitment to earning 400 sweat equity hours and to paying an affordable monthly mortgage builds a strong foundation for his children.

Curtis two sons, Curtis III, 14 and Caleb, 13, and his 11-year-old twin girls, Trinity and Takia, will be starting back to school in different schools because of this move—but they will now have the stability of knowing they won’t have to keep changing schools for future moves. Curtis saw the toll that moving from place to place took on his kids’ grades for awhile, and he knows this added security will make a difference in their academics.

While balancing time to work on the construction of his house with a job that often requires overtime wasn’t always easy, Curtis feels fortunate this his employer, Metrolina Greenhouses, was supportive of him and offered the flexibility he needed to complete his sweat equity hours. Metrolina is also a strong supporter of Our Towns Habitat and our mission to provide affordable housing.

Curtis found the time he spent both working on construction and in the ReStore rewarding because of the opportunity it afforded him to meet new people and build relationships. When it was time to landscape, his whole family came out to work, since even his youngest children could participate in this task.

Curtis sees his new home as a family base—somewhere his kids can come back to even when they’re older if they ever need to. “We’re finally settled,” Curtis said. “I’ve told my kids they cannot sell this house.”

Through all of the financial uncertainty Curtis and his family have faced, they have leaned on faith to bring them through. “I know through everything, God is going to provide a way,” he said.

Curtis’ home was made possible through the financial sponsorship of Davidson United Methodist Church, whose members also worked alongside Curtis to build his home. This home represents the 18th home sponsored by DUMC in partnership with Our Towns Habitat. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities with Our Towns Habitat, email  or call 704-896-8957.

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