Meet Our Homeowners

Meet the Flores Family

Meet the Flores Family 1200 800 habitatdetroit

For many children in Detroit, the idea of a safe and secure home is a foreign concept. This was true for Gabby Flores, who moved around a lot during her own childhood. While she faced many challenges in this experience, never having a “family home” also instilled dreams in her of planting her roots and finding financial stability so that she could be the best mom possible for her own young girls.

Gabby took it upon herself to make these dreams a reality. While keeping her eyes on the prize of attaining financial stability, she was able to work her way up to management roles in her professional life. Next, she set her sights on homeownership, and found hope in Habitat Detroit.

Since joining our program in 2022, the entire Flores family have been active participants in our programming: They were always eager and willing to build up sweat equity hours at volunteer builds, participate in events and classes, and develop their own buying power. In just a short time, Gabby was standing in front of their new home with tears in her eyes, imagining where she would put her plants, which rooms her girls would stay in, and how they would continue to build a beautiful and fruitful life in a place they could call their own.

“Habitat Detroit has changed my life by helping me become a homeowner and allowing me to play a role in the homeownership journey for other Habitat families,” says Flores. “Most importantly my daughters see that with hard work and dedication they too can become homeowners.”

Meet Grayson

Meet Grayson 1200 799 habitatdetroit

Grayson Wilson, along with his mother, Anne migrated to the US from Guyana South America in search of a better life. They faced many challenges and setbacks as they learned a new culture and way of life but thrived, nonetheless. In his younger days, Grayson was extremely active in sports and loved being on a team. His love for teamwork, leadership, and connectedness lead Grayson to a successful 7-year career in the Army.

In 2022, Grayson connected with Habitat Detroit and joined the Weekend Warriors, knowing he very much wanted to be a homeowner himself.  Understanding he needed to get a few financial ducks in a row first, he began to attend webinars and continued learning everything he needed from this new community. Over the next year, he helped in several home builds and attended webinars all in order to gain the skills needed to be a successful homeowner. During this time he discovered that the Habitat Detroit culture at its core is “genuine care”.

“I have an innate desire to serve others and to see their lives fulfilled. Volunteering with Habitat Detroit for over a year and a half, I’ve seen other’s homeownership dreams come true. I’ve learned new skills relating to home renovation and home maintenance,” said Wilson.

In February 2023, his hard work had paid off — Grayson officially applied for and was approved to be a Habitat Detroit Homeowner. That same week he viewed a house and made his choice shortly after.
Wilson continued, “Now that homeownership is a reality for me, I am grateful to have this experience. Working with Habitat Detroit offers me peace – They continue to equip me with the knowledge, skills, and access to resources to make my homeownership lifecycle sustainable.”

Meet Larry & Regina

Meet Larry & Regina 1200 800 habitatdetroit

On any given day, it’s common for four generations of Larry and Regina’s family to drop into their home in the Morningside neighborhood of Detroit to share a meal, a story, a laugh. The couple, who married later in life, enjoy a large, blended family. After living in their community for nearly a decade, Larry and Regina have found that their neighbors have also become like family, too.

Their front door, which Larry jokingly calls “a magnet,” is a constant carousel of friends, family and neighbors stopping by. Regina loves their open-door policy, especially when it means spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Before Larry and Regina moved into their “blessed home,” Regina lived alone in a bungalow with severe structural damage that would have required expensive renovations to the house’s foundation, roof and walls. The house also lacked proper insulation, making wintertime in Detroit unbearable.

After realizing they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, Regina and Larry decided to explore housing upgrades. Their search led them to Habitat for Humanity Detroit and the Morningside neighborhood. The couple was approved for Habitat’s homeownership program and immediately began volunteering and rooting themselves in their new community. Larry and Regina marveled at the generosity and kindness of their neighbors during each home build.

“What Habitat did for me was remind me of what camaraderie is and what community is really about,” Regina says. “Habitat is a very important piece of togetherness.”

“Our grandchildren know they have a place to come home. Before, everything seemed so temporary. The foundation we laid here helps my family be more stable.”
– Regina, Habitat homeowner

Larry and Regina adore their four-bedroom home and spacious backyard, which has been the site of many impromptu neighborhood parties, family reunions and Fourth of July celebrations. Most importantly, the ample space allows their four grandchildren – 16-year-old Xavier, 12-year-old Erin, 3-year-old Ja’Koi and 5-month-old Imunique – to comfortably stay with them.

“Our grandchildren know they have a place to come home,” Regina says. “Before, everything seemed so temporary. The foundation we laid here helps my family be more stable.”

“Homeownership gives us power”

Larry and Regina, both military veterans, have become community fixtures in Morningside, setting a standard in the ways they care for their family and neighbors. Homeownership has enabled the couple to invest in their home and community. Their next project is to install a playground set in their backyard for their grandchildren to enjoy — a move that’s sure to attract other kids from the neighborhood as well.

“Homeownership gives us power,” Larry says. “You can use your home to make things happen. Home is the key to success.”

Meet Aretha

Meet Aretha 1200 800 habitatdetroit

Wide doors and hallways, low cabinets, railings in the bathroom, a ramp on the front porch. For Aretha, the accessibility features in her Habitat for Humanity Detroit home “make a big difference” for her and her two children, 21-year-old Devin and 20-year-old Zacaya.

Aretha has cerebral palsy and uses a walker, and Devin and Zacaya both have a rare degenerative muscular condition that requires them to use wheelchairs. Their four-bedroom home gives the family the space and independence to thrive, but it wasn’t always that way.

Before partnering with Habitat Detroit, they were renting a small two-bedroom apartment unfit for a family with mobility challenges. Though Devin and Zacaya used walkers then, frequent elevator outages forced the family to climb several flights of stairs to reach their third-story apartment. Aretha feared the day when Devin and Zacava would need to use wheelchairs and be unable to access the apartment.

“I was able to show my children that they can do anything. Just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you can’t get it done.”
— Aretha, Habitat homeowner

Aretha was searching for a larger, ground-level apartment to rent when a friend suggested she explore homeownership opportunities with Habitat Detroit. Soon after she was accepted into the program, she began building her house alongside volunteers who traveled from as far as Texas and Florida to support her dream of homeownership.

Aretha says she was overcome with emotion and pride when she and her kids first opened the door to their very own home in 2011. “It was the best feeling in the world. “I was able to show my children that they can do anything. Just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you can’t get it done.”

The family’s Habitat home was designed with accessibility top of mind. The kitchen is spacious and has low, easy-to-reach cabinets. The bathroom is wide and equipped with hand railings near the toilet and shower. Each family member has their own bedroom. A smooth ramp leads up to their front door. The home also has no carpet, allowing Aretha, Devin and Zacaya to freely maneuver their wheelchairs and walkers from room to room.

The home’s adaptability and space offer the family more independence. Aretha says from the day they moved in Devin and Zacaya have loved having their rooms. It’s their own space for Zacaya to paint and Devin to play video games — hobbies they’re passionate about that also improve their motor functions.

If she hadn’t partnered with Habitat Detroit, Aretha says they likely would have moved in with family members and potentially sacrificed accessibility for affordability. Instead, Aretha pays an affordable mortgage for a comfortable, accessible home in a Morningside neighborhood she adores.

“Here, they can be independent,” Aretha says. “They can be more mobile. They can go outside. They can use the restroom on their own. This home is the key to independence and freedom for my children and me.”

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