HAPHousing Success Stories
The Morales Family Finds their Safe Place
Gladys Morales was in constant fear. She and her two daughters lived in a neighborhood terrorized by gang activity and were financially unable to move. However, on the night that a bullet struck her daughter’s bedroom window, Gladys’ need to protect her family overcame all financial realities. “I just wanted out,” she recalled. “That night, I wanted out.”
Resolute — but without options — Gladys turned to HAPHousing for help. Our staff was able to find her temporary housing in short order, giving Gladys and her daughters their first good night of sleep in some time. However, beyond providing a temporary fix, HAPHousing asked Gladys to dream a bit. What would it take to truly bring her family to a place of safety and stability? “More than anything, I wanted a home,” said Gladys. “I wanted a safe place to raise my daughters.” Though her goals seemed far out of reach, Gladys began her journey to attain them. With the help of our counseling staff, she enrolled in the HAPHousing Financial Self-Sufficiency program (FSS) and several years later joined the program’s second graduating class. Her dream of moving her daughters into their own home was about to become a reality.
Today, Gladys most looks forward to spring for the very reason that many dread: yard work. “I love creating my to-do list: gardening and painting,” she said. “I love it because I love my home.”
Room to Breathe
More than anything, Derek Washington needed the chance to come up for air.
He’s the first to admit that his younger years were riddled with poor decisions. Now, having won custody of his two sons, Derek was anxious to rebuild his life and create a solid foundation for his family.
Despite his best efforts, however, he and his sons found themselves living in a motel for temporary shelter. Tired and discouraged, Derek wanted most to find a job that would allow him to support his family on his own. But the road from where he was to where he wanted to be seemed impassable.
An intervention from HAPHousing provided Derek the room he needed to breathe. After being relocated to his own apartment and securing temporary financial assistance through HAPHousing, Derek found that he could focus on finding employment that would put them back of track.
Just a few years later, Derek now thrives in his job as a shipping manager. As a result, he’s able to offer his sons not just food and shelter, but the emotional support that he had always dreamed of providing. He prides himself on being at each of his son’s soccer games, rooting for him to score the winning goal. And afterward, the family of three returns to their home, their safe place, where they grow and make memories together.
Derek no longer receives public assistance from HAPHousing. He is self-sufficient, which is all he ever wanted.
Swimming with Dolphins
With just a part-time job as a news-paper carrier to sustain a family of three, Delfina was at the point of “sink or swim.” She turned to the HAPHousing Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) to achieve two long-term goals: Buy a home and open a daycare center.
With guidance from her HAPHousing counselor, she advanced one step at a time, studying English as a second language, refinancing her car at a lower rate and repairing her credit. Over the next few years, she achieved certifications in financial fitness, preschool enrichment training, CPR and homeownership. With the $4,000 from her FSS escrow account, she was able to buy the Springfield home she was living in, obtain her daycare license and open a daycare center: Dolphin Daycare.
Tight-Knit, Tight Fit in Holyoke
The Davila-Vazquez family is very close-knit, but the family members sure could use some elbow room. And that’s just what they got, thanks to a Home Modification Loan from HAPHousing that helped them turn their garage into living space.
Anyone who thinks their space is limited should try fitting two adults, two teenage girls and two 21-year old sons with three wheelchairs and special needs into this small, one-story ranch house in suburban Holyoke. The boys’ room is so tight that Luis’ new electric wheelchair wouldn’t make it into the room.
Leticia Davila and her husband, Juan Vazquez, couldn’t wait to move sons Luis and Juan, Jr., into their new 14’ x 24’ room with a deck off the back. In addition to more space, the boys gained a new ramp, a great view and safe, easy access to the outdoors. Sisters Sasha and Sahira also enjoy more room as a result of the remodeling.
The Beauty of Ownership
People stare. Take pictures. Even stop to bless her when Patricia Casiano is out in the yard of her Tyler Street home in Springfield.
Circled by lush grass and charming, colorful gardens, her new single-family home, built by HAPHousing, has become a beautiful oasis on an otherwise unremarkable city street.
Patricia bursts with pride, and misses not at all the Indian Orchard apartment where she lived for 13 years — although the lead poisoning her son Randy, 8, suffered there is a cruel reminder.
For Patricia, home ownership remains as exciting now as it was the day she moved in more than a year ago. She credits HAPHousing first-time homebuyer education workshops for teaching her to manage her money, obtain a mortgage and succeed in buying and keeping up her home. As for transforming her house into a home, that credit belongs to Patricia and her family.