This story is a part of a series we are publishing called “Habitat Family Stories”. They’re the stories of our partner families from all walks of life in varying stages of their journey. Many of them have been in their Habitat homes for close to a decade. Get to know the families we work alongside by checking the “family story” tag.
Muna immigrated from a refugee camp in Djibouti to the U.S. in January of 2001 with her husband and 3 month-old son Biniyam. Upon arrival, the refugee agency supported her and her family until Muna found a job as a house keeper. Muna’s family grew soon after, with the arrival of her two daughters Everns and Yardanos. She attempted to go to school for several months, taking ESL classes but she struggled to find appropriate child care and was not able to finish.
Eventually, her husband found out about Habitat for Humanity and tried his luck. “He applied by himself, qualified and was accepted… He did not want to include me… He didn’t want his wife to sign the requirements papers.” From there his application process was discontinued and in 2010, Muna and her husband divorced.
She got a second job as a part-time caregiver to a bed-ridden elderly woman to support herself and her children. She still ended up in the section 8 program where she paid $900/month to rent a townhouse. “For me it was stressful. Every six months I had to take off work because I had to wait for the section 8 inspection.” To add to Muna’s frustration, in 2011 her family was robbed of everything down to the children’s clothing and per section 8 policy, when her son turned 18 he was required to leave the apartment. “It was hard to let my son move out,” Muna told us. She hoped he would be able to live at home while he attended college. Her desire for her children to attend college after high-school pushed her to work towards owning her home.
Muna looked into various housing programs before partnering with Homesight. After Homesight passed her information on to Habitat for Humanity, she eventually learned that she qualified for a four bedroom house within her neighborhood of Rainier. Despite working seven days a week, she was able to finish her sweat equity hours with the help of friend. She has high hopes for her home and her family’s future. “Habitat gave me more possibilities, I became stronger and I gained more skills and experience… Having my own home gives me more time to relax. No one will tell me ‘your rent increased’. I have 4 bedrooms, and every member of my family has their own room… This home is not only for me, it is also for my children…. They can stay with me as long as they want or until they have their own family and their own homes.”