“It was a dream come true. I was not expecting such a call!”-Mohamed, Habitat DC-NOVA Homeowner
Mohamed and Jamila have been Habitat DC-NOVA Homeowners since 2016. They are building a stronger foundation for not only their three children, but for generations to come.
Born in Somalia, Mohamed and his family fled to Kenya in 1991 to escape war and instability. Years later, he met Jamila, a young woman who had grown up in his neighborhood in Somalia. By 2010, the couple migrated to the U.S. and settled in Northern Virginia.
As their family grew, the couple’s perspective on their living situation changed. The growing family needed more space, but they didn’t make enough money in their full-time jobs to purchase an adequate home. They moved into a three-bedroom rental apartment but didn’t feel safe. Their basement unit was next to a laundry room, where strangers broke the lock so they could sleep there. Drug users sometimes gathered in the hallway, and teenagers loitered on the playground. Worse still, a young resident of the building was the victim of a sexual assault.
Seeking safer living conditions for his family, Mohamed enrolled in Fairfax County’s First-Time Homebuyers Program, before learning about Habitat NOVA. He submitted the pre-screening form without expectations. “It was a dream come true. I was not expecting such a call!” Mohamed recounts about learning that his family had been selected for a Habitat NOVA home.
Working mostly on Saturdays, Mohamed volunteered alongside Habitat staff and fellow volunteers and documented the home’s construction progress at every opportunity. “I wanted to build every day! It was a really amazing experience to take part in the construction,” noted Mohamed. He’s since added to his fence with some of the skills he learned while volunteering.
Mohamed and Jamila have also continued to support our work by providing lunch for volunteers and staff on nearby builds.Jamila’s tea is famous and well known by many volunteers as it is that good!
Owning a home in the United States “is a big, big accomplishment,” he says. He and Jamila are creating a stable life for their kids, providing a safe and peaceful home. They also see homeownership as a way to invest in their children’s future and education.
Watch Mohamed speak about his experience as a Habitat Homeowner.