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Building Tiylisa’s Home Was Family Affair

Tiylisa’s journey to becoming a Habitat homeowner has truly been a family affair.

When she was accepted into our homeowner program, Tiylisa was initially ecstatic. “I could have done like 50 back flips,” she said.

But then she started to worry, fearing there was no way she would be able to complete her 400 sweat equity hours, while also working 12-hours shifts at NGK Ceramics.
But then her family stepped in—starting with her uncle Thomas. He assured her he would help her complete her hours, and boy, did he keep that promise. According to Tiylisa, Thomas loves the night life—but even after late nights out, he would be up and ready to work bright and early with her every Saturday morning, helping build homes for other Habitat homeowners.

When the time came to start work on Tiylisa’s home, the rest of her family came out in full force. She comes from a large family, so there were many days when her brothers, dad and other family members made up the biggest portion of the work crew for the day. Her mom often helped out with babysitting.

On flooring day, “they put that floor in about 30 minutes,” Tiylisa said. “My brother said they could probably build a house in one day!’”

Tiylisa knows all of this work will be worth it to give her daughters—Chan’Taieya, 16, and Cha’Rez, 8—better opportunity. Her need for affordable housing has left her “house broke,” without money to ever do anything extra with her girls, even while working long hours and earning overtime.

The family lived with her mom for some time, but it was too crowded. When she found a rental home for $550, that seemed affordable—but it was so energy inefficient that she was hit with $400 power bills. This new, energy-efficient home will offer her an affordable mortgage AND affordable utilities.

Tiylisa says her experience with Habitat has been like a dream come true, and has helped her see the positives in life, where often she has seen a lot of negative. Her faith has also helped her stay the course—“When Jesus says yes, nobody can say no,” she says.

Tiylisa is very grateful for everyone who has been part of making this dream a reality—the team at Our Towns, all the volunteers who worked on her home and, of course, her family.

“My family really came through for me,” she said. “They love me a whole lot.”

Melissa’s New Home Gives Daughter’s Security

For Melissa and her three girls, their new Habitat house represents safety, security and a space to call their own.

Melissa’s daughters, Deonna, 8, and twins Miley and Kylee, 3, love to play outside, but in the neighborhood where they live now, it’s just not safe. Here, Deonna can ride her bike around Our Towns Habitat’s beautiful Poole Place neighborhood, without worrying that her bike will be stolen—which has happened more than once to Deonna in the past.

The family will have space to live and thrive here, where the three girls will not all be sharing one bedroom. With an affordable mortgage, Melissa may be able to work a few less hours between her two jobs at Bob Evans and Hardee’s, giving her more time to spend with her girls.

Melissa has learned a lot from working on her own home—including that she does not like tiling! Painting was her favorite task, and she really enjoyed working with different volunteers and meeting the people helping to build her home. No matter what the task was, though, Construction Site Supervisor Hugo Herrara attests that Melissa would give it her all.

There is much for Melissa to look forward to in her new home, but she says she may be most excited about having her own washer and dryer, with no more trips to the laundromat!

For her girls, though, she’s excited about something much deeper.

“They will have their own yard to play in, and more freedom,” she says. “It’s going to be like heaven for us.”

Truly, for this family, this home represents the core work of Our Towns Habitat for Humanity—building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.

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