Homeownership Month in Washington

Friday, June 25, 2004

Habitat for Humanity in partnership with HUD began building homes in the City of Tacoma in 1997 - to date 95 homes have been built. A "Sharing the Dream" home, will soon fulfill the dream of homeownership for Karin Escobar and her five children. "This is the beginning of a new life for me and my children," said Karin to a large crowd assembled for the groundblessing ceremony.

"Habitat is all about volunteers and relationships," said Mike Madden, Pierce County Habitat's Executive Director. "Our partnership with HUD and the City of Tacoma has made it possible to expand the building of 3-4 homes a year to 15 a year."

[Photo 1: Barbara Harner introducing Karin Escobar and her 2-year old]
Barbara Harner, Habitat homeowner, introduces Karin Escobar and her 2-year old at the groundblessing ceremony
[Photo 2: Volunteers working]
Habitat for Humanity volunteers building the "Sharing the Dream" home

At the "Sharing the Dream" event, Barbara Harner, a Habitat homeowner since 1997, helped build Karin Escobar's "Dream" home and spoke movingly of how homeownership changed her life. "My dream was to raise my kids to the best of my ability. In 1997, we lived in a dilapidated home with mice and roaches. This had a very negative effect on my psyche. I was constantly unhappy and lacked self-esteem." Harner's life changed when her daughter's teacher put the family in touch with Habitat and they applied for a home.

To her delight, one evening "a group of wonderful people came to my home with cupcakes and balloons to announce our application was accepted. When they left, my kids and I all did a happy dance."

[Photo 3: Karin Escobar and her five children]
Karin Escobar and her five children, ages 2-14, in the foundation of their new home

Harner and her children worked on the construction of their home, which was part of Pierce County Habitat's first blitz build. "My house was built in one week by a group of fairies. It was such a wonderful experience; I love everyone I ever worked with. I love my house today just as much as the day I moved in."

By volunteering on the Board of Directors and several committees, Harner now gives back to her extended Habitat family. "As a run-down house has a negative effect on a family, a beautiful, clean, warm home has a very positive effect," she told the crowd. "Habitat has helped me to achieve my dream to be a better parent, employee, and citizen." Harner hopes that the "Dream" home will have the same positive effect on the Escobar family.

SHOP grants are made to nonprofit organizations to facilitate homeownership opportunities through self-help housing programs. These programs require a significant amount of sweat equity by the homebuyer toward the construction or rehabilitation of the dwelling. HOME, a HUD community development program, is the largest federal block grant to State and local governments, and is designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. Madden stated that his organization is making homeownership possible for families whose income is 25-50 percent of the area median income.

Content Archived: September 09, 2009