Working as a housekeeping supervisor, Mary first heard about Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity (RMHFH) from a friend
“She bought a Habitat house, and told me just to sign up,” says Mary. “One Saturday, I got up and went [to the orientation].” She applied to the program, but wasn’t exactly optimistic
In partnership with volunteers and donors throughout the community, RMHFH builds comfortable, safe homes that families can afford to buy through the zero percent interest mortgages RMHFH provides.
At the time, Mary and her twin nephews were living in sub-standard housing. Mary, raising her nephews since birth, was eager to buy a larger home in a safer neighborhood where the boys could play outside. But traditional mortgages were beyond her reach.
So she applied for the RMHFH Homeownership Program, and was thrilled to be accepted. Over the course of sixteen months, Mary went through a credit check, took required homeownership classes, and completed 350 required sweat equity hours, building her own home and working at the RMHFH ReStore. Her nephews were an integral part of the process, too, contributing their own version of sweat equity through their commitment to learning. Each grade of A or B on the boys’ report cards was counted as an hour of the required time needed by homeowner partners.
“It made the boys feel like they were putting time and effort into building the house, too,” says Mary. “It made them feel like their grades helped build the house, and they did. And my nephews will tell you, ‘I built a house,’ and they did!”
“I’ve still got my hard hat,” says Mary, who installed walls, caulked, painted, and installed insulation. “ I enjoyed it,” she adds.
In 2010, Mary purchased the house she now lives in – a family-friendly, energy efficient two-floor home in Richmond’s Northside. Today, she can sit on the front porch of her attractive home and watch the boys play football and baseball in the park across the street. Her favorite room in the house is the kitchen, where she fixes dinner every night.
“The kids are so happy,” says Mary. “And to see them happy makes me happy. It was really worth it.”
“Mary and her nephers are why we do what we do at Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity,” says Laura Lafayette, RMHFH board of directors chair. “Staff, volunteers, donors—all of us want what Mary wants—a brighter future for our families and for our shared community. We’re honored to play our part in that effort by working with families to help them realize their dream of home ownership.”
Since its founding in 1986, RMHFH has joined forces with volunteers and partner families to build over 300 houses in Central Virginia.
“I know I wouldn’t have been able to buy my own home without Habitat,” says Mary. “It’s a blessing.”