Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Voices of Family Promise
Our Community Blog: Rebecca Esparza, Family Service Coordinator, FP of Lawrence, “Community”
Community is the word that comes to mind when I think about being in my home. Community is the reason I have a home.
I recently finished partnering with Habitat for Humanity and building a home for myself and my family. We moved into our home on September 27, 2017. I worked on my sweat equity hours for over a year, and from time to time I would ask someone if they were going to take my house away. I was so afraid I would do something that would cause me to lose this opportunity. I thought something would come up from my past that would take me out of the running for my new home. My family and I have many of the traits that cause concern: multiple years in recovery from substance abuse, only fair rental history from being homeless and a fair credit score from years of my money managing me, student loan debt, a myriad of other bills that never got paid, and a house with four teenagers. All these traits scream high risk, but the community took a chance on us.
A few years ago, the Family Promise community provided us shelter and opportunity to work toward finding housing again. I was provided with case management that helped my family long-term. It was through my relationship with Family Promise that I was encouraged to apply to Habitat for Humanity. Family Promise of Lawrence and Habitat for Humanity Lawrence had developed a partnership that helped families become homeowners. It was through this opportunity that I was chosen to build a house.
This house was more than a dream because I never imagined that I would get a chance to own my own home. After a lifetime of instability—being under-housed, being homeless, feeling anxious most times—I got my own home. It was because groups of people in this community worked together to give me the chance. All I had to do was accept the help. I had no idea when I was sleeping on cots in a church that six years later I would sign a deed to my very own home.
Family Promise, along with Habitat for Humanity, has given me an opportunity that was never even close to being on my radar.
I experience an underlying contentment daily as I go home—not to a house I rent, but to a home, on land that belongs to me, where I have a voice to speak and security in tomorrow. It is through these relationships that I have gained the most joy, and all I ever had to do was put in some hard work and accept the love and hospitality that was offered.