Steve and Janice are our 7th Habitat Homeowners, having moved into their Habitat Home in 2013.
Janice said she and her family - her husband Steve, and daughters, Megan and Emma, had been shopping for a home prior to being approved as a Habitat Family. Without a long enough credit history, however, they couldn't find anything in their price range that would be easily adaptable to a wheelchair.
“Due to a back injury I sustained several years ago, I was no longer able to work,” said Janice. “After that, we couldn’t afford a down payment on a home and the amount we could get on a mortgage really didn’t add up to a whole lot. The houses that were available ... [were] all older, Victorian-type homes with stairs ... It wasn't going to work for us.”
She said her family was struggling at that point. They had applied for the Habitat housing program and had been denied. Fortunately, a year after their initial rejection, their family received a call from Habitat for Humanity.
“They said, ‘You’re our family this year.’ It was perfect timing in the sense that, a couple of weeks later, we were evicted from our home," Janice said.
Megan said she was cooking hash browns in the family apartment when she heard Habitat had approved them.
"I had to turn off the stove and go in the living room, I was so excited," she said, "So many people were praying for us and it worked!"
The Steve & Janice's Family's home was Habitat's first wheelchair-accessible project in the city. To prepare for the eventuality that Janice will end up in a wheelchair, Habitat altered their usual house plan. The front door and interior doors were widened to 36 inches, and basement stairs reinforced for the eventual installation of a wheelchair lift.
"[Home] means stability. This is our forever home and we don’t have to move again which is really wonderful and we know that we can stay here … We’re just thrilled to be part of the Habitat family."