Volunteers help at a Habitat for Humanity home

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Habitat Homeowner Grateful for the Togetherness Her New House Will Provide

The first time Sonya applied to buy a home through Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg, she didn’t qualify.

She applied a second time and again didn’t qualify.

She ruled out applying a third time until she reminded herself of her why.

Sonya has five children, the eldest a nursing student at Radford University, the youngest a 4-year-old with unlimited energy. In the middle are three teenagers, one bound for the University of North Carolina in the spring and twins.

“I wanted this home for my children,” Sonya says. “I wanted them to have a place to call home. That’s what pushed me to keep applying and do what I needed to do.”

No doesn’t mean not ever, Habitat will tell you. It just means not right now.

Sonya and her family finally were approved and bought their three-bedroom Habitat home in Williamsburg this year. The ribbon cutting for her home was held Nov. 15, 2021.

Move-in day isn’t so much about filling the house with a bunch of new furniture. That will gradually come.

“It’s about all of us being together,” Sonya says. “We don’t care about not having all our furniture yet. The only thing we care about is being with each other. We’ll just go in there and enjoy the emptiness!”

Sonya is an “everything happens for a reason” sort of thinker, so being denied twice didn’t make her bitter. She knew she needed to work on her credit to be in a position to make the monthly mortgage payments on time. As part of her sweat equity — the 300 volunteer hours Habitat homebuyers must satisfy to qualify for the homebuyer program — she completed multiple financial education classes so she could make better decisions moving forward.

“I thought I was ready before, but I wasn’t ready,” she says. “Now I’m ready to do this.”

The new home in Williamsburg is just a five-minute drive from her job at a hotel, where she is an Executive Housekeeper. Sonya is also excited that her son, who has been living with his father because of the lack of space at her sister’s rental, will be moving back in with his siblings.

“We haven’t been separated like that,” Sonya says. “We’re so used to being together and being a family.”

As much as Sonya looks forward to decorating her own home for the holidays and filling the walls with her children’s photos, she doesn’t overlook how special sitting around a dinner table will be.

She’s already planning everybody’s favorite —hamburgers smothered in gravy with mashed potatoes.

“I’m asking myself, ‘Is this really real? I can’t believe it.’”

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We help as many families as we can, but the lack of decent and affordable housing remains a critical problem in our area. By donating, you will provide upfront funding for building materials and services that makes interest-free loans to Habitat partner families possible. Habitat partner families help to build their own homes - alongside volunteers - and pay an affordable mortgage. Your monetary donations enable us to continue building strength, stability and independence for future local families.