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Cheryl’s Passion for Empowering Teens

Cheryl grew up in the foster care system and now works as a case manager for homeless youth. She says, “When I was a teenager, I went through a lot of difficulties. I can relate to them on a different level than anybody else that works with me. When I get back to work after my completing my sweat equity hours there’s always kids waiting to talk to me.” When Cheryl turned 18, the system basically kicked her out. She started couch surfing and working a variety of jobs.

“It was hard. It’s hard for anybody that is in the system to be able to make it.”

Because she was on her own most of her childhood without any guidance or mentoring, she wasn’t equipped with knowledge when it came to housing or finances. She says, “Nobody ever taught me…”

Not only does she have a great job and is committed to raising her son Aiden with stability, but she is on the path to becoming a homeowner.

In their current living situation, their number one issue is safety. “There’s gunshots all the time… it rattles our windows, sometimes we sleep on the living room floor. With the fentanyl epidemic happening, it’s just been horrible.” Plus, the rent has increased, and the units around her have increased even more, so she’s worried about being priced out. “I get nauseous worrying about not being able to afford it.” She started looking for alternatives and applied to Habitat’s homeownership program after a friend encouraged her.

When Cheryl found out she was accepted, she was shocked. “I cried afterwards. After the meeting I went home and I just sat there in the dark because I was picked. I was overwhelmed with excitement, it was crazy. I’ve never had anything like this ever happen to me.”

How will her life be different after she moves into her new home? Cheryl won’t have to worry about rent increases. Because of Habitat Tucson’s fixed mortgage rates, she can expect to pay an affordable monthly payment that goes entirely to the principal of her loan. Cheryl is looking forward to being able to provide a safe home for her and Aiden. Safety will make her feel a lot less worried, as well as provide an increased sense of stability. She says, “Aiden will always know where his home is.”

After a lifetime of feeling like she had to move around and fight for stability, Cheryl looks forward to providing a different future for her son.
“Even after I pass on, he’ll get the house. So, he won’t have to worry,” she shares.

Cheryl’s is a story of resilience. Her commitment to working with homeless youth who have been through the exact struggles she experienced is truly inspiring. Habitat Tucson is proud to work alongside people like Cheryl to empower them to accomplish their dreams of homeownership.

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