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Andrea, A DC Native and homeowner in Ivy City, is proud of her family’s many achievements, not least of which is her journey to becoming a homeowner. The resilient head of the family, Andrea is a single mother who has worked tirelessly against the odds to create a better future for herself and her three children, Janae, Antonio, and Jaliyah, and her granddaughter, Jade.

Antonio is on the autism spectrum and has an illness that will require a lifetime of hospital visits and complex surgeries. His mobility is limited and sometimes he has to use a wheelchair. The family used to live in an apartment that was so small and cramped, Andrea could not secure the type of in-home care that Antonio needed. Andrea also worried about the strain that the living situation was putting on her other children.

“I’m just one, and it takes an army or village to raise a child… Habitat is bridging that gap by the volunteers that come in, by people giving their time, their energy, their resources, to go into everything it takes to build a house,” Andrea shared.

Andrea became a Habitat homeowner in 2015, and she and her family now live in a three-bedroom house custombuilt for Antonio’s needs that is entirely ADA-compliant. Not only can Antonio move in his home independently, but when he or another family member feel overwhelmed, each of them can retreat into the safety of their own room. All of her children are thriving in their new home, and her oldest, Janae, is working to obtain her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education“

Having a house has given me a sense of rejuvenation. I can, I did, I will… no one else can take away. All I needed was one person to believe in me, and that gave me the momentum that I needed,” says Andrea.

She has a plan to meet her ambitious financial goals – which include paying off her mortgage early and planning for Antonio’s long-term care – and has returned to work full-time in order to meet them. She has also applied to the mortuary sciences program at UDC, which will allow her to further her career guiding families through the grieving process. Andrea states of perseverance, “I’m not going to give up on my dreams, because look at how many “no’s” I had to go through to get my house.”