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Christina never expected to end up back at home. Entering the workforce shortly after the 2008 economic depression, Christina faced the dual challenges of finding both a job and a house in tough markets. Christina decided to move back into her family home, where her three-person family would now share a one-bedroom apartment. “I couldn’t secure a home without income, so I moved in with family to have a stable home and look for a job from there,” Christina recalls

Moving home was far from an easy decision for Christina. When a fourth relative needed to move in, unresolved family tensions and overcrowding forced Christina to move again with other relatives. The stress of moving, the inability to build a home that she could make her own, and the pressure of the job and housing search contributed to a depressed period in her life. She wanted nothing more than a stable job and home and to focus on building her future. “It was really difficult to make plans for the future without a sense of stability. Even if I wanted to travel, I couldn’t because I wouldn’t know where to come home to,” she explained.

Christina was able to seek out counseling and eventually landed a federal consulting position that helped her qualify for DC Habitat’ homebuyer program. Since becoming a Habitat homeowner in 2014, Christina has focused on building a future beyond herself, saying, “I’ve been able to develop professionally in a way that means I can earn more … Thinking generationally, I want to be able to pass that down.”

Christina continues to chase her dream of becoming a robotics engineer while paying down her student debt, building up her savings, and even taking some vacations along the way. “I have a foundation to stand on and make plans. I have the freedom to do all the things I want to do and know I have a place to come home to. A couple years ago I took myself to the Caribbean, and that wouldn’t have even been on my radar – it took a cousin to remind me that I could afford it because I was so used to just saying no to myself.”