When Wonda reflects on her past and all the obstacles she has overcome, she can hardly believe that she is about to achieve her lifelong dream of owning a home.
“It’s so exciting and is a huge relief to finally have something that is my own,” Wonda said. “After all these years, I will have a stable place for my son when he visits me from college. I’m so thankful!”
In February, Wonda will watch Pulte Homes and their subcontractors build her home in just five days during Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County’s Builders Blitz event. Pulte Homes is also generously donating the materials and labor to build Desmon and Maria’s home this year.
A challenging beginning
Wonda’s early life was full of challenges. She, her mom, and her siblings managed with income at the poverty line and struggled in their unsafe environment.
“We didn’t have a lot,” Wonda said. “I remember all the neighborhood kids would get some cardboard and slide down the hill that was part of the highway while it was still under construction. It wasn’t safe, but it was all we could do for fun.”
Growing up in an unsafe neighborhood was very hard, but she focused on her education. She now works in the medical field as a referral coordinator.
Searching for stability
Even though Wonda has a good job, she’s had challenges finding an affordable place to live in Central Florida’s expensive housing market.
A couple of years ago, Wonda tried to buy the house she was renting, but the home inspector told her it was going to cost more money to repair the house than it was actually worth. Her realtor told her that she probably wouldn’t qualify for anything better because of her financial circumstances.
Discouraged by the whole experience and the continual rise of home prices, she decided to hold off on buying a home.
“The apartment I’m in now is supposed to be affordable, but they’ve raised the rent eight times in the last two years,” Wonda said. “It’s discouraging to work hard every day and then have most of my paycheck go to something that will never be mine.”
“I almost discounted Habitat before I even applied because I thought that maybe I wasn’t good enough or able to qualify. When I was approved, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It was such a relief to know that I was going to be OK,” Wonda said.
Wonda quickly completed all of her Habitat U courses and the first-time homebuyer classes, which she says helped her prepare for the realities of homeownership. “It’s been a journey, but I’m loving every minute of it,” Wonda said.
“Another thing that I am really happy about is that since my home will be brand new, I won’t have to worry about any major repairs for at least 10 years. That is very reassuring to me,” she said.
Wonda has never forgotten where she came from and encourages others from difficult backgrounds to believe in themselves and work hard to accomplish their goals.
“I tell everyone I know who is serious about homeownership to look into Habitat because if you put in the work, they will too.”
Learn more about Builders Blitz and read more homeowner stories >>
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