Sarah and Manuel's Story

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Sarah and Manuel are Denver natives who have seen the city change dramatically over the years.  Having been born and raised in this community, they can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. “Denver has everything we could ever want,” they share.

Despite feeling rooted in Denver, both Sarah and Manuel have experienced a lot of instability with housing.  “It seems like we had to move every 1-2 years,” shares Manuel about growing up in west Denver. “We moved half a dozen times growing up,” adds Sarah.  That’s why they felt lucky to have found their most recent apartment about 8 years ago, right before rents started to skyrocket across metro Denver.  With the frequent moves they both experienced growing up, they were happy that their 10-year old daughter, Sophia, would be able to stay in the same apartment for quite a few years.

Their 2-bedroom apartment has remained affordable over the years, but it has a long list of dangerous maintenance problems. “We can hear popping from our electrical outlets,” shares Manuel. “And the walls feel hot to the touch!” In addition to the faulty aluminum wiring, they had bad plumbing and dealt with many leaks from the unit directly above them.  One time a leak started while they were out of town and they came home to standing water throughout their apartment.

Partnering with Habitat to build and purchase a new home for their family could not have come at a better time.  Their landlord decided to sell their apartment complex and their lease wasn’t renewed this year, so they’ve put all of their belongings in storage and are living with a family member until their Habitat home is complete.  “We looked for other rentals but it would take all of our savings to pay the first and last month’s rent and the deposit,” they explain.

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Sarah and Manuel both work hard to make ends meet for their family.  Sarah has taught early childhood education for the past 10 years, and is also attending college to get her Associates degree.  Manuel also works in the public school system as an Assistant Facility Manager.  They know that working hard is important so that they can “provide the best environment for Sophia… provide stability.”

Sarah and Manuel have always wanted to own a home in Denver, and looked into purchasing a home on the open market, but were dismayed to realize it was out of reach for them financially.  That’s when they explored Habitat for Humanity’s program and are ecstatic to be building and purchasing a home at our Galapago community.

Sophia is excited for their future home to begin construction and start to take shape.  And she’s especially excited to get her toys of out storage and be able to decorate her new bedroom.  She’s already planning on painting the walls teal and would love a big bean bag chair to read books on.

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Sarah and Manuel are looking forward to having more space and enjoying the comfort of being in a home of their own.  In addition to decorating it and hanging family photos, they’re also excited to have a home with windows that open, water that runs properly, and electrical wiring that will allow them to plug in multiple items at once without blowing a circuit… all things they’ve been missing for the past 8 years.

“We’re excited about the whole process,” Sarah and Manuel exclaim. “Investing in ourselves…never having to move again… and providing stability for Sophia.”

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