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Categories: Habitat Happenings, Family Stories, Habitat Tucson

A Mother & Daughter Juggling It All For Their Family of 7

Jackie is a single mom of four. Along with her mother, Christina, she also raises her niece. Together, they are a family of 7, surviving on one income. Jackie has always worked and she’s proud of raising her kids as a single mom. “The only help I get is from my mom, who watches the kids while I’m working,” Jackie says.

Jackie and Christina have moved around a lot. Their current apartment has major plumbing and sewage issues, the cabinets are falling off the walls, and at one point part of the roof caved in. They’ve tried to reach out to the landlord, but they haven’t received any support. Even worse, the neighborhood is so unsafe that one of them always needs to stay home with the kids, making childcare logistically challenging between getting to and from work, completing sweat equity hours, and managing school schedules. They have no way to move because the housing market is so unaffordable.

Before Habitat, Jackie tried to buy a home but, because she is the head of a 7-person household with one income, she struggled with being able to save for the down payment. Without a large enough down payment, Jackie wouldn’t be able to afford the steep monthly costs, especially with 2023’s interest rates.

“I needed something more stable. We were trying to buy a house but it was just too much- you can’t just come up with ten times what you have. With what I make now, and with the constant prices of gas and food going up, it’s so frustrating. It’s hard to save,” she says.

Jackie decided to apply to Habitat Tucson’s homeownership program. She said to herself,

“All I can do is try.”

When Jackie and Christina were accepted, they were totally shocked. Christina says, “I just kept thinking, is this really happening? Is this really gonna happen?”

Scheduling sweat equity hours has been a lot to juggle, especially since they have only one car. But they’re trying to stay positive. They’ve learned a lot through the process, especially from regular volunteers at the construction site.

Christina says, “I’ve now learned how to paint without getting it all over my clothes!”

Jackie says, “I’m so impressed with all the people that give their time to help us get a home.“

“They’re donating their time without expecting anything in return. It’s so amazing!”

They’re all looking forward to having more space. In their new home, Jackie shares, “We won’t have to worry about the kids getting sick from plumbing or rodents or bad people around.”

Christina is grateful that a Habitat home will allow her grandkids to be safe.

“If anything happens to me, Jackie will be ok with her kids,” Christina says.

To Jackie, home means “family, happiness, stability, and no worries.”

The strength and stability of a Habitat home will be achieved through a combination of Jackie and Christina’s hard work and a hand-up from the community.

What would Jackie tell someone else in her position? “There’s a time for everything. Just keep trying.”

Every time Jackie or Christina return from construction, the younger kids always ask, “Is our house ready yet?”

Thanks to Habitat Tucson’s amazing volunteers and donors, it will be soon!

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