Volunteers help at a Habitat for Humanity home

BLOG

Mom Becomes First in Her Family to Buy a Home of Her Own

Jammie wanted to be a homeowner but knew she wouldn’t qualify for a traditional loan. She didn’t have stability growing up, moving regularly into different apartments and living out of hotels at times.

“We bounced around,” said Jammie, who finished high school online, longed for a yard and dreamed of being part of a neighborhood where she could make friends.

That’s not the life she wanted for her two children and her two nieces that she took in after her sister unexpectedly passed away. That led Jammie to apply to Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg’s Homebuyer Program.

When she learned her application was approved, she said she immediately felt a “personal achievement” because “I’ll be the first one in my immediate family to be a homeowner.”

Jammie and her family moved into their first home a few days before Thanksgiving 2021. She has held steady employment in early childhood education for the last 14 years, and today works as a teacher’s assistant in a class for 2-year-olds.

“I’m excited to finally have financial stability and being able to give that to my kids,” she said. “I didn’t have that growing up. It’s an awesome feeling, and I’m so ready for it.”

The three-bedroom house with a backyard deck in Williamsburg will be home to her 10-year-old daughter, 8-year-old son, and one niece, a recent high school graduate. As part of her sweat equity — 400 volunteer hours that Habitat homebuyers must log in order to qualify for the homebuyer program — Jamie helped pour the concrete for her front porch. She worked on her home and a neighbor’s.

“You get to see the hard work put into it from the volunteers and construction crew,” she said. “It’s definitely not an easy job.”

Jammie completed financial and credit classes and participated in the Habitat Repair Blitz in October 2021 that fixed up aging houses in Newport News. One of her tasks that Saturday was cleaning gutters.

“You think you’d have to have help to do that, but I climbed a ladder and cleaned gutters out,” she said. “Now I know how to do that for my own home. I don’t have to call someone else to do it.”

Jammie’s Pinterest is full of wish list items for the inside décor of her house. She’s stocked up on Christmas lights to twinkle outside. She can’t wait to host family dinners and is eager for the kids to make the bedrooms their own. Her son’s will reflect his passion for football and basketball. Her daughters love to read and will share a room full of books.

“We’re so thankful and so blessed that we’ll be in our home for the holidays,” she said.

Jammie didn’t know anything about Habitat until she applied to be a homeowner. Now she finds herself educating others about what the nonprofit does and doesn’t do. “People think you get a house for free, and that’s not the case,” she said. “That’s not what it’s about. You have a mortgage. Nothing is given to you for free. Habitat helps families get out of their financial situations so they’re not needing state assistance. You have to put a lot of work into buying your own house.”

DONATE

Want to invest in the community?

DONATE NOW

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.