Our Families

The Miguel-Francisco Family

 

Domingo Andres and Juana Francisco grew up in the town of Huehuetanengo, located in the western highlands of Guatemala. Despite living in a relatively small town and sharing the dream of a better life in America, it took separate paths and more than 2,550 miles for them to finally find each other in Indiantown.

“I came to Indiantown when I was 27 years old and have lived in Martin County for 37 years,” Domingo said. “Juana left Guatemala when she was 21 and has been in Indiantown for 37 years as well. We met each other through mutual friends and thought we might be a good fit for each other.”

Four kids and seven grandchildren later, Domingo and Juana are proving to not only be the perfect fit for each other, but for the community as a whole.

She works each day at Classic Growers Nursery in Stuart and, together, they raise their 13-year old granddaughter, Sofia. After school, Sofia practices the clarinet, does homework and enjoys playing on her electronic devices. Her favorite pastime is drawing anime.

Domingo and Juana are excited about becoming Habitat homeowners because of the legacy that allows them to leave for Sofia.

“I am very excited to become a Habitat homeowner for many reasons,” Domingo said. “The first is that I’ll have something to pass down to Sofia. That’s the most important. But I’ll also be able to dry my own clothes. And have central heat during the winter!”

Central heat and air is a dream for Domingo, Juana and Sofia right now.

They currently live in a trailer that “has many issues” and makes them “uncomfortable”, Domingo said.

“There is an electrical issue and I can only have certain items on at the same time,” he said. “The floor is not level due to lots of rotten wood throughout the trailer. There is also a smell of mold in the house because the roof leaks. In the new home, Sofia will have her own space, which is important because she is getting older.”

Also important in their new Habitat home will be a sense of security and safety they don’t currently enjoy.

“The other day a snake crawled in the window of our trailer,” Domingo said. “We are not comfortable there.”

Domingo and Juana come from crowded homes – he has 9 siblings, she has 10 – but they will be the first in either of their families to purchase their own house.

“I am looking forward to having grandkids be able to stay over and play outside. I am looking forward to having central AC and central heat. I am looking forward to decorating the home and having people come over without being embarrassed of my home,” Domingo said. “This will make a difference because we don't have to stress when something breaks or leaks or especially during the hurricane season. I don't have to worry if my home is going to get destroyed. I just want to say thank you for helping us make our dreams become a reality!!! We are forever grateful for this opportunity.”

 

The Russel Family

 

Whether it’s trying to escape dangerous living conditions, make a better life for your family or even just having a place to call your own, there are many benefits to owning a Habitat home.

In James Russell’s case, his quest to become a Habitat homeowner was simple: He just wanted to put him and son in a situation where both would be able to prosper for may years.

That dream became reality when James and Bryce, 17, moved into their home in Carter Park in June.

“I am very grateful for all involved in helping me to become a homeowner,” James said. “It means the world to be able to afford living expenses and still be able to save for the future. The biggest difference will be the ability to be financially sound and afford life’s ups and downs.”

James moved to Martin County from Pittsburgh in 2017 to be closer to Bryce as he entered high school. The two have been sharing an apartment in Stuart in which James said the only issue was the exorbitant monthly cost.

With the chance to save a little money each month, James will now be able to spend more time playing video games with Bryce, going to movies, on bike rides and playing golf, along with his other hobbies.

James, who works as a Certified Dietary Manager at Treasure Coast Hospice, is looking forward to the little things that make homeownership a goal.

“Having my own washer and dryer. Having a dog with a yard to run. Having a lawn to care of – I love yard work. Just calling it my home is what I’m looking forward to most,” James said. “I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to become a Habitat homeowner.”

 

 

The Guerrero Family

 
For Ivan and Angelica Guerrero, purchasing their Habitat home in Carter Park is the latest chapter in their Martin County love story.
 
 Angelica, 25, and Ivan, 23, were both born and raised in Stuart. Though they had mutual friends throughout high school, they didn’t really begin talking until they connected through Facebook and decided to meet up at a rodeo in Okeechobee. After that day, it was hard to keep them apart.
 
He began working as a painter four years ago and they were married in December 2017. They have two children, Elizabeth, 2, and Ismael, six months.
 
“My daughter loves everything to do with music and dancing, she is shy at first but once she gets comfortable there’s no stopping her. She also loves chickens. She is such a character and we couldn’t have been more blessed with her,” Elizabeth said. “My son adds so much to our family that we didn’t know we were missing. He absolutely adores his sister, and is interested in everything she does.”
 
The family currently lives in a trailer between Stuart and Indiantown and they are looking very forward to the day when they can leave the terrible conditions they currently endure behind.
 
“We make do with what we have and we are thankful that we have a roof over our heads but we do not feel it is the safest place for our children,” she said. “There is a hole in the ceiling and floor from water coming through, we have termites in one of the rooms, we had to cut the wires in the kitchen outlet because it was sparking and catching fire, our back porch door does not shut, and it gets extremely hot inside without the AC. It is 3 bedrooms and 1 bath, but we currently share one room because but the second bedroom is way too far from us and has termites, and the third room is more like a closet so it is too small.”
 
The Guerreros heard about Habitat for Humanity of Martin County through a friend who is also a Habitat homeowner. They realized they might be a good fit and, once they met all the requirements, they applied to become homeowners.
 
“We knew we needed a better home for our family and, with our financial situation, we would have been struggling in any other home because of interest rates,” Angelica said.
 
Like any new homeowner, the Guerrero family is excited about having a place to call – and decorate as – their own.
 
“We are looking forward to decorating our children’s rooms (mainly letting our daughter pick out how she wants her room), and having natural light in the house,” Angelica said.
 
“Having our own home will make us feel more comfortable, and honestly, more at peace for our children. We won’t have to worry about them falling through a hole in the floor or getting hurt by one of the outlets".
 
“We really appreciate who and what Habitat stands for. We will forever be thankful for the opportunity that this has given us, and to the volunteers and donors who have put their time, money, and effort towards helping us. This home will be a reminder to always help out and give back.”
 

The Gervacio Family

 

Carlos Gervacio and Catarina Tomas, like many Habitat homeowners, have their eyes on the future.

Yes, it will be great to remove their family from the substandard – overcrowded, small, holes outside – conditions they currently tolerate into a place they can call their own. And, yes, it will be nice to have a mortgage that is manageable and allows them to be able to save money each month.

But the most important reason they are so anxious to become Habitat homeowners is because of the impact it will have on their children.

“What excites me the most is my children having their own rooms,” Carlos said. “We will be able to feel more free without any worry, knowing that this is the place where we will live forever.”

Carlos and Catarina met in Guatemala and were married 10 years ago. Their two daughters, Ashley, 5, Keyli, 3, and son, Charly, 6 months, enjoy lunches out and going to the park.

Carlos has worked for a local landscape company four the past four years as a driver and leader of a group of workers. He heard about the Habitat for Humanity program through a friend and thought it would be a good idea for his family if they applied.

Things have worked out well for the family as they moved through the approval process and into the final stage of building their own home.

“It has been a joy for me and family too,” Carlos said.

The Chavannes Family

Merissaint Chavannes married Marie Dorcely on December 15, 2001 in Haiti. During the last 17 years, they have raised three beautiful daughters together; Michaella, 16, Kensta, 14, and Kendra, 7.

Four years ago, the Chavannes family emigrated from Haiti to the United States and settled in Martin County. Merissaint found employment as a stacker for Boral Roofing and Marie is a private home caregiver for MENTOR in Stuart.

Their combined income is enough to rent an overpriced apartment in Indiantown.

“The home we are currently living in is not comfortable,” said Marie. “There are a lot of issues with the plumbing, electrical problems and the air conditioner doesn’t always work.”

The Chavannes family is deeply rooted in their faith and are faithful members of the Indiantown Haitian Church of the Nazarene. Marie helps lead worship at their weekly services and Michaella serves as a children’s teacher during Sunday school classes. Michaella excels in her studies, has won numerous academic awards and likes to play basketball. Kensta also enjoys math and her sport of choice is volleyball. Kendra’s favorite subject is reading and she likes to play soccer.

After a friend told them about Habitat for Humanity of Martin County, Merissaint and Marie quickly applied for a no-interest mortgage.

"Becoming homeowners will make a big difference in our lives. We won’t have to spend so much money in rent and now it will be affordable and it will be something that is ours,” said Marie. “What we are looking forward to the most as a family is being able to have a garden.”   

“I feel really happy about becoming a Habitat homeowner. It means that my family will live in a stable home and we will not have to move around all the time. Thank you to everyone for this opportunity,” said Merissaint.


The Paredes Family

 

It was through family that Rosaura met Homar Miranda. They married in 2013 and later that year welcomed their daughter, Kaysie.  

Their income is limited, relying solely on Homar’s salary as a roof installer for Crowther Roofing for the last two years. They were able to find housing in the form of a one-bedroom trailer.

“There is no space and everything feels so tight. We have problems with termites on the walls. In the summer it gets really hot inside because we don’t have a central air conditioner,” said Rosaura.

It has been especially tough on their 6-year old daughter, Kaysie, who has never had a bedroom of her own. She is doing well in school and, while she loves trying new activities, drawing and coloring are her favorite.

Through family friends, they heard about a homeownership program called Habitat for Humanity of Martin County.

“When we came to the office to inquire about more information, that’s when we realized we qualified for this program. We met all of the requirements and we were willing to contribute with sweat equity hours,” said Homar.  

After submitting to an exhaustive application process, Homar are Rosaura are currently contributing 300 hours of sweat equity, but are well on the path to homeownership.

“I feel very happy and blessed with Habitat for Humanity for making this happen for us. It means a lot to us because it’s a brand new home with lots of space that we need and we don’t have to worry about the problems that we had with the trailer. We are looking forward to making great memories with our daughter in our own new home,” said Rosaura. “This home will increase our freedom, security and stability. I just want to say thank you to everyone that has helped us from staff, donors and volunteers.”