Sarah and Manuel's Story
Sarah and Manuel are Denver natives who have seen the city change dramatically over the years. Born and raised in this community, they can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. Fortunately, they don't have to, thanks to their partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, through which they bought and built their home.
“Denver has everything we could ever want,” the couple shared.
Despite feeling rooted in Denver, before becoming homeowners, Sarah and Manuel experienced a lot of instability with housing.
“It seems like we had to move every one to two years,” shares Manuel about growing up in west Denver. “We moved half a dozen times growing up,” added Sarah.
That’s why they felt lucky about nine years ago, when they found an apartment just before rent began skyrocketing across metro Denver. At first they were happy, particularly because their now-11-year-old daughter would have more stability than they had by living in one place for a few years. But over the years, though affordable, the apartment brought the couple a list of dangerous maintenance problems.
“We can hear popping from our electrical outlets,” Manuel shared. “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. Once, they returned from being out of town to find standing water in their apartment due to a leak.
Looking back, the couple says partnering with Habitat Denver to build and purchase a new home could not have come at a better time. They were forced to place all their belongings in storage and move in with a family member after their landlord sold the apartment complex in which they lived.
“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,” the couple said.
Sarah and Manuel began exploring Habitat Metro Denver after a search of the open market left them feeling that homeownership was financially out of their reach. Upon learning they had been accepted into the homeownership program, doors opened for Sarah, an early childhood education teacher pursuing her associate's degree, and Manuel, a public school assistant facility manager.
The couple has always wanted to provide the best, most stable environment for Sophia, who couldn't wait to get her toys out of storage to begin decorating her new bedroom, which she said would be painted teal, and would have a big bean bag chair in which she can read books.
Today, the family has more space and is 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 almost a decade.
“We’re excited about the whole process,” Sarah and Manuel shared in 2018. “Investing in ourselves…never having to move again… and providing stability for Sophia.”
You can help ensure more families like Sarah and Manuel's will have a safe and stable place to call home.
Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver is a 501 (c) nonprofit organization, FEIN: 74-2050021 see our About Us page for more organization information.