Before Katrina, I was living in a rental house paying six hundred dollars a month. It was amazing how things happen, because three days before Katrina, my landlord told me that my rent was going to go up to seven hundred and fifty dollars a month. I practically begged her not to raise the rent. I told her that I was working two jobs and I couldn’t pay that much. I cried.
I remember calling my daughter in Atlanta, and crying and crying. I told her I didn’t know what to do. She told me “mom, you don’t ever have to worry about having a place to live. Move to Atlanta, away from Mississippi.” I told her that Mississippi was my home.
I came home one day and was depressed. The news came on, and they were talking about Katrina. My daughter called worried, but I told her that I wasn’t worried.
The next thing I knew, the storm was coming. At first I was going to stay home, but my daughter convinced me to go to her home in Atlanta.
I watched the news at my daughter’s house in Atlanta, and saw Katrina destroy the Coast.
I came back to my street, and my house was completely destroyed. I fell to my knees. My daughter was with me. She convinced me to go to back to Georgia with her because she didn’t think there was any way I could find a place to live. I went to Atlanta with my daughter, but Georgia wasn’t home.
My job told me that if I didn’t come back, I wouldn’t have a job. My friend offered me a place to stay, so I returned to the Coast. I lived with her until I got a FEMA trailer. With the trailer, I felt a little bit better, but it still wasn’t “home.” I tried to find another place to live, but couldn’t find anything.
My friend told me about Habitat for Humanity. I’d heard a little bit about Habitat on TV, but told my friend that I didn’t think Habitat was for me. “With my luck,” I told her, “I’d never qualify for a Habitat home because my daughter is grown, and I don’t have children.” She convinced me to go to a meeting about Habitat.
At the meeting, I was nervous and scared. I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose, I didn’t have anything anyway, so I filled the application out. I didn’t hear anything, and I thought “I’m not going to call them, because if I do they’ll probably tell me that I don’t qualify.”
I was sitting in my RV crying in the FEMA trailer park, and was depressed and crying about my house. That’s when I received the phone call that I had been approved, and I was thrilled to hear that I was qualified. I dropped the phone, jumped up and down, ran and got my bible and just started flipping pages. Then I asked “are you sure you have the right person?”
I remember going out to pick out where my house would be, and I got on my knees and I prayed. I said “Lord, thank you so much, because I didn’t know what to do.” I remember telling the Lord to guide me, and he was with me the entire time. I said “Lord, just guide me. Just guide me, Jesus.” I feel like the Lord knew that I was going to get this house.
I always wanted my own home, but had never purchased a home, even though I had worked hard on my credit to try to put myself in a situation so that I could one day buy myself a home. There was something really, really great about Habitat. When I see people, I tell people about my home.
I think that Habitat is a wonderful, wonderful organization. They work with you- they care. I’m happy that they have Habitat for Humanity for people who were once like me. I wish that every person in the world that qualified could have a Habitat home. I hope that the people who don’t qualify will someday find something that will allow them to qualify.
Every time I walk in my home, I pray to the Lord and just thank him for Habitat. I thank him for the Habitat sponsors, my volunteers, and everything about Habitat. I love having a home that I can afford. I know that if I was paying $750/mo, I couldn’t do it. Habitat made it possible for me to have a home that I can own and I can pay for. I think Habitat is a great organization- I thank Habitat from the bottom of my heart for my home.