Categories: Family Stories, Habitat Tucson

Altamirano Family

“I have this picture in my head of my house,” said Zulema Altamirano. “This is my dream.”

Zulema Altamirano teaches toddlers and children through the Arizona Head Start Program, but she says that the young learners are, in fact, educating her every single day. Four years ago, she learned something that would change her life forever — she learned about Habitat for Humanity Tucson.

“It’s really hard for me being a single parent,” she said. “I just want a place to be stable — a place to settle down.”

Zulema and her two daughters currently live in a mobile home where they face extreme heat in the summer and cold nights in the winter. The transient population is a concern in the area and there is very little security.

What’s more, she shares a bed with her 20-year-old daughter, Elsa. And while her 17-year-old daughter, Azlin, is studying in Norway on a scholarship, the family is in desperate need of more room.

“We moved to Tucson for better opportunities,” said Zulema, who moved her family to Tucson from Douglas eight years ago. “But I’m so tired of moving.”

Elsa is studying Public Health at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College. But she feels that the house where they currently live is in such disrepair that it distracts her from her studies.

“It will definitely lower the stress (in the new home),” said Elsa. “I could focus more. If the repairs weren’t always in the back of my head, I could focus more.”

The family is excited for more space where they can build their lives without constant need of repairs. Zulema is confident that her new home will provide her family with a safe place to be together while giving her the opportunity to make individual financial progress. Her daughters are proud of her determination to make a better life for the family.

“They trust me,” she said. “They believe in me. And I’m never going to give up.”

Zulema is also excited to learn about construction and volunteer with her future neighbors. She is grateful for the support of the community and individuals who are helping her achieve her dream of homeownership.

“Anything is possible,” she said. “This is proof right here.”

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