Our Families

The Dominguez Family

Dyana Patricia Dominguez Amado lives with her three children in a trailer that has two small        bedrooms and a tiny bathroom. That means she has her own room and her 16-year old son, Erick, has his own room. Daughters Ashley, 9, and Leslie, 3, share a sleeper sofa in the living room.

Dyana was introduced to Habitat for Humanity of Martin County by Erica Barrios, another Habitat homeowner. Erica told her how great the program was and thought it would be perfect for Dyana and her children.

“I decided to apply because my children need a house and, with my income, this program is perfect for me,” Dyana said. “I could not afford to buy a house where I would have to pay interest. The mortgage payments would be much higher for me.”

For the past four years, Dyana has worked for a company cleaning homes. The long hours take up a lot of what would be her free time with the children, but she makes up for that with trips to the park so they can run and play. They attend Holy Cross Catholic Church on the weekends.

Dyana moved to Florida from Obregon Sonora, Mexico 17 years ago. She has three sisters who live in Tijuana who own their own homes, but she will be the first in her family to own a home in the United States.

“Words cannot describe how happy and grateful I feel because my children are going to have their own rooms, their privacy, more space and a beautiful place to call home,” she said. “It means the world to me, being a single mother and still being able to give my children a better life.”

Dyana and the children already have plans for the first thing they want to do when they move into their new house.

“I hope first to furnish it as beautiful as possible so my children feel comfortable, happy and safe,” she said. “We are becoming homeowners and accomplishing the American dream. I will continue to work hard to achieve each of my goals. Thank you for making those dreams come true. Thank you for helping us build our beautiful home and making us feel good through the whole process. I thank you with all my heart.”

The Perez-Abad-Francisco-Domingo Family

Ignacio Perez-Abad and Ermelinda Francisco-Domingo met at work 10 years ago and have been married for six.

They have spent the past nine years living in government subsidized housing, sharing four bedrooms with their five children, aged 15 years to 22 months. The air conditioning in two of the bedrooms doesn’t work and there are some plumbing issues.

Perhaps the most troubling thing for Ignacio and Ermelinda is all the wasted money they have to spend just to be able to live.

To do laundry, for example, requires a bag of quarters and a trip to the local laundromat. Besides all the time and energy required just to wash their clothes, there is the stress of managing that around five children.

To top it all off, the rent they pay for four room apartment with faulty plumbing and half-working air conditioning is $10 more than they will pay for their mortgage in their new Habitat home.

“The stress of spending money in the laundromat is going to be gone.  Now we can save only money and time,” they said. “We will be able to do the laundry in our home not more hours spend twice a week at the laundry mat.  Time we can spend together with our children at home.”

The chance to own their home represents freedom for Ignacio, who came to Martin County from Mexico 27 years ago, and Ermelinda, who moved here from Guatemala 20 years ago.

“We are very excited to finally accomplish one of our biggest dreams and become homeowners.
Finally, we do not have to worry about changing jobs and have an increase on our income and lose the home we are renting,” they said. “We will be able to give our family stability, feel proud of raising our family in our own home.  Now we can have our own garden because in the rental home we are not allowed to have plants.”

Their new home in Carter Park will give them the opportunity to make a lot of changes in their lives. Ignacio can now seek a higher paying job without fear of his income pricing them out of government housing. Ermelinda can become a homemaker and raise her five children. And the family can have more time to enjoy doing what they love to do.

“We love to spend time together in the park or any place where the children can run and play,” she said. “Life is going to be less stressful for us.”

The Montejo Family

Imagine living in an apartment and having to worry each year that you may actually make too much money and be forced to move out. Imagine trying to raise a family but trying to keep your income within the limits that will allow you to maintain stability in your government housing.

                 That is the tightrope Pablo and Blanca Montejo have walked for several years -- raising four children under the shadow of eviction for being too successful.

Those days are gone forever.

When they talk about the most important part of purchasing their own Habitat home, the Montejo point to the freedom to succeed.

“We will no longer worry every single year if the landlord will or will not renew our lease because our income might increase and disqualify us,” they said. “We are very happy that, at last, we are going to be homeowners. We are also happy because my daughters are going to have their own room and we will also have two bathrooms and our own washer and dryer. We are happy because we are the first and only ones who are going to live in OUR home, in which we are going to create new memories with our daughters.”

The Montejos have four daughters: Maria, 21; Odilia, 18; Abelina, 16 and Adelia, 11.

Pablo and Blanca met while growing up in the same village in Guatemala. He immigrated to the United States in 1988, finding work in Martin County. They were married in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2012 that he was able to get all the paperwork in order to bring the entire family here to join him.

Pablo is a machine operator at the Phillips and Jordan Company, where he has worked for the past 14 years.

When the family is not home, you can find they at the Seventh Day Adventist Church or out playing basketball or taking family walks in the park. Other than that, the activities of three school-aged children keep them plenty busy.

“We are very happy. Owning a home has been a dream for our family,” Pablo said. “We weren’t sure it would ever be a reality until Norma Garcia, who is a Habitat homeowner, told us about Habitat and, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Martin County, it is happening.”

The Hall Family

Taneka Hall is a single mother of four children; Keasia, 12; Omarion, 10; Shaire, 7 and Harmony, 6. She works hard to raise her family, economizing and being smart with her money to provide the most opportunities for her children.

 Taneka was born in Stuart but she moved to Pahokee when she was three. Her stepmother raised her and was the most influential person in her life. She returned to Martin County in 2012 to help take care of her biological mother.

The Hall family has lived in subsidized housing for four years, where they are forced to confront many limits that often do not contribute to a secure and happy family life.

The landlord at her subsidized housing told her about the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program and she decided to contact Habitat to see if she could qualify. She went through the qualifying process and didn’t really believe she would get a home until she started her first homeownership class. This experience made it very real for her.

Taneka has worked for the Martin County School District’s Head Start Program as a substitute teacher for the past three years. She enjoys her work with the children.

The Hall family belongs to the New Zion Baptist Church. This family likes to spend free time watching a movie, cleaning house or attending Omarion’s football games.

She is the first person in her family to own a home and she is overwhelmed and overjoyed all at the same time. She never dreamed that she would ever own a home for herself and her family. She and her children are very grateful to everyone that has volunteered and worked to make this happen for them.

“I am looking forward to moving into my new home and enjoying it with my children. It will be very gratifying to me to see the smiles on their faces when they see all that they will have in this new home,” Taneka said. “Habitat for Humanity has warmed our hearts.”

The Carbajal Lopez Family

David Carbajal and Marbel Gutierrez heard about the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program from Marbel’s brother and sister-in-law who were working toward qualifying for a home of their own. Both couples were eventually qualified and they are building their homes at the same time. They are excited about becoming neighbors.

David Carbajal was born in Fresno, CA and moved to Martin County when he was five years old. Marbel was born in Mexico and came to Martin County when she was fifteen years old. They married in December of 2013.

The couple rented an apartment in Joseph Lee Gardens in Indiantown, but the rent increased and the apartment became too high for their budget. They now rent a bedroom in the St. Lucie Mobile Village Park while they wait for their home to be completed.

They have two children, Mayda, 7, and David, 17 months. Mayda attends Hope Rural School and will be entering the Second Grade when school starts this fall.  The family likes to go for walks, eat ice cream and spend time with their extended family. The time spent helping to build their new home keeps them busy. They look forward to helping future Habitat families build their homes.

David works as a painter at Ryan Baum Painting. He has been with that company for five years. Marbel works in the cafeteria for the Indiantown Head Start Program. She loves her job because she enjoys working with the children. 

Once David and Marbel learned what the criteria and requirements were they felt that they could be a good fit for the program and that they would be great homeowners.

Marbel said: “We always dreamed of owning a home and feel blessed and grateful to Habitat for Humanity for giving us the opportunity, not only to become homeowners, but to have it happen so quickly. We would like to thank all the groups, organizations, staff and volunteers who one way or another helped us build our home. At the construction site we always had someone to show us how to do the different jobs and at the Habitat Homeowners Education Workshop we learned about budget, credit, banking, homeowner insurance, home maintenance and much more to help us become successful homeowners.” 

Once they have moved into their new home they are looking forward to becoming dependable Habitat homeowners by paying their mortgage on time, being courteous to their neighbors and ambassadors for Habitat for Humanity.

The Garcia Family

For the past eight years Francisco and Norma Garcia, along with their three children Alejandro, 8, Daniel, 6 and Litzy, 3, have lived in a trailer park in Indiantown. The trailer does not have central air conditioning, so the family uses window air conditioners. Regardless, the trailer is very hot, especially in the summer. During the winter, when it is cold outside, the trailer is even colder inside. The roof is in bad shape and, when it rains, there are leaks. The walls are full of termites.  The Garcias do not feel secure in the park. Their car windows have been broken twice and the windows on the trailer once. They installed bars on the windows for security, but now they worry about a fire because, if the front door is blocked, they won’t be able to get out of the trailer.

Francisco works as a boat builder for LH Boats. He has done this work for many years, while Norma is a homemaker and has her hands full caring for three small children.

In their spare time they love to spend time together, going to the park with the children, shopping or spending time with their extended family. They have been members of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Indiantown for nine years.

Their main focus right now is helping to complete their new home and, once moved in, making it their own, little by little.

Norma says, “We are really excited about becoming homeowners. We did not have any hope of owning our own home, much less owning a brand new home. We are happy because our children will not be suffering from the hot or the cold inside our home. Most of all for the first time in the last eight years we are going to feel safe and secure. No more worries about all the crime around us or living in a home with so many problems. It has been a great experience helping to build our home and the home of other future Habitat Homeowners. We had the opportunity to work along with and get to know the volunteers who came to the construction site to help us build and we learned many skills that will help us maintain our new home. We cannot wait for the dedication and the day we finally have the keys to our home in our hands. That day our dream of owning our own home will become a reality.”