Jorge Reyes, TDHCA, 12/19/2012
The only type of ‘building’ most twenty-somethings get into these days is building a “friends list” on their favorite social networking sites. Literally building a house is probably not something many of them have considered.
But that was not the case for twenty-somethings Javier Solano and wife Kimberly Martinez. Living in a small one-bedroom apartment with their baby, Javier Jr., had them longing for a bigger and better home.
“We barely had any room to move in”, recalls Kimberly. “All our belongings were packed in to this tiny place. Plus, Javier Jr. was starting to walk and we really wanted a backyard for him.”
At that time, however, their dream was well beyond reach. Javier was working at an auto parts store and Kimberly had just started going to radiology school. Buying a home on his salary alone was out of the question. But the future became brighter for this young Texas family and the goal became reachable when a family member told Kimberly about Habitat for Humanity of Laredo.
The connection? Habitat for Humanity of Laredo administers TDHCA’s Bootstrap Loan Program, a self-help construction program designed to provide very low-income families with an opportunity to help themselves through “sweat equity.” All participants under the program are required to provide at least 65 percent of the labor necessary to construct or rehabilitate the home.
Javier and Kimberly were more than willing to break a sweat if it meant a new, larger home. Once accepted into the program, Javier and Kimberly began in earnest. Javier was at the worksite before and after work. Kimberly dropped off Javier Jr. at his grandparents whenever they were available to look after him so she could join the effort. They were both determined to build not only a home but also a better future for themselves and Javier Jr.
“It was a wonderful experience. We were never scared to do it”, says Kimberly. “We knew this was the key to our future. Javier Jr. now has a backyard he can play in but, more importantly, he has a home he can grow in and his mom and dad built it!”
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Texas Bootstrap Loan Program