Prior to her new home, Ciera and her two children ages 10 and 12, lived in income based
housing. Although she has been grateful for the opportunity, the small apartment is not in good
condition. There are holes throughout the small apartment which allow for insects to come in. There is
also mold present in the apartment. She reports that no matter how much you clean it never leaves and
the apartment complex has not resolved the issue. Ciera and her children have struggled to cope with
their current living situation.
Ciera learned about Habitat Cabarrus’ Home ownership program from two homeowners, Jackie
and her Aunt Zula. They both encouraged her to apply for the program many times. When asked about
her time in the program she stated, “It was one of the best life changing opportunities I have ever
experienced. One of my goals for my life was to become a homeowner but I didn’t have any clear
direction as to how I would be able to do so until I ran across the homeowners in the program and that
is when I finally found the vision of possibly being a homeowner.”
Ciera reports that she has gained so much from the process because she has learned so much.
The most challenging part about being in the program for her has been trying to find balance in her life
between the program, her job and children. She said as she began to adjust, it became a thrill for her
because of how many things she was able to learn and experience firsthand. She enjoys learning new
skills on the construction site. “My first time, I was so nervous and had no clue of what to do,” she said.
With guidance from the Site Supervisor she learned different techniques and how to use the tools in the
right way. What she loves the most about being on the site is working with the volunteers, other
homeowners and the bonds they’ve built.
When asked about Financial Peace University, she stated that it is very helpful. “I learned a lot
and it is definitely a good guide to follow. It helps and broke down so much information that you
wouldn’t think it would work but It does when you take time to actually do it.”
Ciera says that her and her children are completely ready to for the change. They can finally be
in a safe environment and they get to personalize their own space the way they’d like. “I’m excited
because all my hard work has finally turned into blessings that I didn’t expect to receive so soon,” she
It means so much to Ciera to be able to see her dream of Home ownership come to fruition. She
reports that she is so thankful for the opportunity and shares it with all of her friends. She says the
program has changed her life as she’s become more disciplined and knows that it will open even more
opportunities for her. She plans to open her own business and to help her children do so as well to
ensure their future financial stability.
Monslo is a Patient Service Specialist with Atrium. She has four children, ages 21, 17, 12 and 3. While pregnant with her fourth son, Monslo met a Habitat Cabarrus Board member, Therese, who asked for coupons to assist with a fundraiser. Monslo asked a few questions about the program and applied shortly after. Her former living space was overcrowded as she was sharing a room with her three year old and they were all sharing one bathroom. What should be a dining room was a play area for the then three-year old. The community she resided in was not family friendly. They did not want children outside playing unless an adult is supervising the entire time. Monslo and her family were also encountering substandard living conditions. There was mold in the rental and her children have Asthma. She was constantly worried about their health and trying to prevent them from getting sick.
Monslo now has a better living situation for her and her children and is grateful to have been selected for Habitat Cabarrus’ Home ownership program. When asked about her experience in the program, she said that you have to motivate and have pep talks with yourself to get out of bed on a cold day or a hot day. Sometimes you feel like you’re going to pass out from the heat or get freezer burn from being out in the cold for hours. She says that when she thinks about owning her own home it makes her put a little pep in her step and push on! “I thought it would be easy but boy it’s hard work and a lot of dedication but well worth it in the end,” she stated.
When asked how she felt about the Financial Peace University classes, she stated that they have worked for her. “I learned so much about my financial hardship. I learned to turn it around and live a little better,” she reported. “Learning how to save put me and my family in a better situation and we’re not living pay check to pay check.” She stated that she was surprised that she was able to pay off her credit cards and save money for family vacations. She is even teaching her sons the value of a dollar.
As a homeowner, her former worries became irrelevant. She no longer has to worry about getting notes on the door or have neighbors complaining because her children playing outside. Nor does she have to worry about her children’s health. She is grateful to be living in a home she calls her own.
Tameko and Leroy
Leroy and Tameko Washington have experienced many hardships while on their journey to Homeownership. They have experienced homelessness first hand and through the help of Habitat Cabarrus, their hard work and commitment, they will soon own their very own home. When asked what they are looking forward to the most about homeownership, they became emotional and stated stability. “We’ve been through the struggle, now it’s time to enjoy.”
Leroy was born in Columbia, SC. After graduating high school, he became a mechanic. He has worked at several dealerships and has even owned his own mechanic business. Currently, he is a self-employed mechanic and car detailer. Tameko was also born in Columbia, SC. She has been working in the medical field for about fifteen years. She is currently a Medical Technician Supervisor at a Cabarrus County nursing home.
Leroy met Tameko while he was working on her vehicle. They developed a friendship and then began dating. In 2010, they got married and became a blended family. Leroy has six children and ten grandchildren while Tameko has two children and one grandchild on the way. Early on in their marriage, Leroy began to experience some health problems. Unbeknownst to him, he suffered from a stroke while at work. Due to complications from the stroke, it was very difficult for him to work. This loss of income resulted in homelessness for the newlyweds. They would sleep in motels or in their vehicle. This caused them a great deal of stress which led to Leroy suffering from another stroke. Due to not having a stable address, he was unable to participate in the physical therapy ordered by his Dr. because he did not have a stable address for the therapists to come to.
After receiving a job offer in 2015, Leroy re-located to Concord, NC. Once he obtained a residence, he brought Tameko here and she was able to transfer her job. Unfortunately, his job went out of business and the Dr. told him that due to his health, he could no longer work. The Washington’s attempted to receive disability benefits for Leroy but he was denied. He began to suffer from depression because he was no longer able to provide for his family. Upon learning of his denial, Tiffany referred him to NC Works and they referred him to a Rehabilitation Center for testing due to his health. They concur with his Dr. that he should not be working due to his health. They have referred him to a neurologist for further testing.
The rental home they were living in had roof leaks, inadequate electrical and very little insulation. Habit Cabarrus purchased the home they were renting for the Transitional Housing program and rehabbed it. Upon hearing about the program, they became very excited and motivated to work towards fulfilling their dream of homeownership. They reported that they’ve learned so much from being in the Homeownership program. Leroy stated that he learned how to build a house and he is looking forward to being able to maintain his own thanks to all the knowledge he’s received. Tameko says that she benefitted the most from Financial Peace University. She has learned the importance of budgeting and how to prioritize needs vs. wants. “Emergency fund and savings make a big difference,” she says. Since participating in Financial Peace University, they are being more mindful of how they spend their money and how to prepare themselves for the future. They are looking forward to having a stable home with an affordable mortgage payment.