Family ties run deep for Adrienne and her six children. One of the highlights of moving into her new Habitat home on Grand Rapids’ southeast side, is that her grandmother lives close by.
Adrienne’s blended family, ranging in ages 7 to 16, consists of daughter Indoneisha, son Dekari and four adopted cousins, Tynesha, Merissa, Nesha and Carmelo who became part of their family last year.
She contacted Habitat after a fruitless search for decent, affordable housing that could accommodate her expanded family. “Every place I went that would fit all of us was going to cost at least $1,100.00 a month. Then I saw some Habitat houses and remembered one of my Mom’s friends had a Habitat house, so I called.”
When she received the news she had been approved for Habitat homeownership, she and her family were elated. “I love the house. I needed a four or five bedroom and it was even my first choice. Now, we can each have a closet of our own,” a luxury their current crowded situation does not allow.
Adrienne sees homeownership as a way to build long-term stability for her family. “I moved to Grand Rapids when I was 17 and I’ve moved every year since. I’m 35, now and I’m tired of moving.”
Each of the children has his or her individual dream about life in their new home. “My one daughter likes digging in the dirt and finding worms, so she wants to help in the yard. They all want to get involved with sports too. Everybody keeps asking me when we’re gonna move there.”
The entire family expressed an interest in working on their new house. Adrienne had to explain that there were age restrictions for working on the job site. She encouraged them to focus on getting good grades instead. Adrienne is hopeful being closer to their schools will open up more opportunities for all of her children.
She and her family attend Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, where she has begun recruiting volunteers to work on her new home.
The path to Habitat homeownership involves a long-term partnership. Before buying her home, at a 0% interest mortgage, Adrienne will put in 300-500 sweat equity hours by assisting with construction, learning home maintenance and financial management skills.
“Sometimes it feels like an overload of information, but everything that I’ve learned will help me in my new home. I’ve learned how to do a lot of things I never thought I could do. Some of the things I did know how to do, but I could have done them better. I want to be able to do things on my own.”
Even with an interim move from their overcrowded apartment pending until her Habitat home is finished, Adrienne seemed undaunted, with the knowledge that their next move would be their last.
“I want my kids to understand family and never have to move again.”