The Paw/Tun family has never experienced having a stable place to live. Due to the civil war in their country, they were forced to run away from their village. They were living at a refugee camp in Thailand when they were able to pursue a brighter future in the United States. Since 2008, the family has moved three times. Their children endured changing schools twice.
Thablay and Kyaw have three daughters, who are 11, 10 and 7 years old, and a newborn Son. The oldest daughter helps her mother around the house. She enjoys learning about science in school and likes football. Her sister just turned ten and likes reading at home and playing badminton. The youngest sister, age 7, loves riding her bike. Their little brother was born in December of 2015.
After moving from one apartment to apartment, their friend introduced them to Habitat for Humanity. Thablay and Kyaw agreed that becoming homeowners will help with “saving more money, benefit their professional life, and enhance their kids’ future.”
Gabriel and Sylvia are the proud parents of two young kids, three-year-old Oscar, and Lucy who was born this past December. Gabriel works full-time as a pastoral associate and Sylvia is a fulltime mother, which is extra challenging as their son is disabled. Living in the Cully neighborhood for the past five years, the family loves their community, but find it difficult to afford a place that meets their son’s needs.
Oscar has cerebral palsy, cortical vision impairment and a developmental and intellectual disability. He uses a wheelchair, as well as several other pieces of specialized equipment, for mobility and therapy. Their two bedroom apartment is already too small to accommodate two growing children and Oscar’s therapy equipment.
But even more urgent is the lack of accessibility for Oscar. The door frames are too small to accommodate a wheelchair, so Gabriel and Sylvia have to move their son from room-to-room by picking him up, a tiring task that will become harder as he gets older. The house has steps to the front door with no wheelchair ramp, so even getting in and out of the house each day is difficult.
In addition to the lack of accessibility, there are electrical problems, single pane windows that make the home drafty and expensive to keep warm, and mold growing in many places.
The family learned about Habitat through their church and were elated when they were selected into the Homeownership Program. Their home will be located at Helensview, allowing them to stay in their current neighborhood. Noyes Development will build the home during the Home Builders Blitz 2016 this spring.
“We are so relieved. We had fear of being pushed out of our neighborhood by gentrification,” said Gabriel, “but most of all we are happy to give our children a safe home that has a greater quality of life.”
A.C. and her partner Jeanne just couldn’t keep up with the repairs their old Cully home needed.
The two share a home in Northeast Portland with their dog Jacoba. Over the years they’ve noticed issues piling up. “A lot of the old windows are starting to deteriorate,” says A.C. “In the wintertime, heat escapes badly. It’s just really hard to get to things like that, and financially it’s a big hurdle.”
Along with inefficient old windows, the gutter system was in serious disrepair.
A 0%-interest loan through Habitat’s Home Repair and Preservation program provided the Miller-Klagge family with a chance to get the repairs they needed to get their house back into shape.
Now that the work is done, A.C. sounds relieved. “It’s lifted my spirits, you know? I couldn’t afford this type of work on my own, it’s just really energized me.”
“It’s warm now,” Jeanne says with a smile. “In the winter I usually sleep with two comforters. Last night I only needed one sheet.”