Meet Habitat Homeowners: Quana and Zach

March 12, 2021

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Quana first volunteered on a Habitat build site with a Missouri church group when she was a teenager. She was homeless, living out of a car, and the church helped her with food and clothing. They invited her to be of service to others even though she needed help herself. Her life growing up wasn't stable and she longed for normalcy.

Fast forward 20 years and Quana was doing well, pursuing a Ph.D. at CU Boulder, when she faced a dire health diagnosis requiring her to undergo several emergency surgeries related to cancer. The medical treatment financially bankrupted her, leaving her with chronic pain, which made working difficult. Once again her life was unstable, she was living with friends, unable to afford her own place. She was back where she had started.

Zach had grown up in unstable circumstances in Vermont—childhood homes purchased and lost, parents divorced, moving constantly, and homelessness as well. He was looking for a fresh start and moved to Denver where his sister lived. He liked how progressive, outdoorsy and friendly it felt here. But the cost of housing created struggles that he hadn't anticipated, living in substandard conditions, moving constantly once again, chasing cheaper rent.

As luck would have it, Quana and Zach met one other over their shared passion for art and design. Quana owns a fine art and consulting business, and Zach works as an art director for a local screen-printing company. They were both keenly aware of one another's desire for a stable home and what it would mean to them, but everything was so costly. How could they ever afford to buy?

They were living in an expensive and cramped apartment, and at one point they had to place pots and pans all around their rental because rain was pouring through the ceiling.

Zach shared, "It's so hard to gain financial stability in Denver if you don't own."

Quana was also looking for the "physical, social and emotional benefits of having stable housing and not having to worry about being displaced, rent rising or other circumstances forcing us to move again."

A Realtor suggested they look at Habitat Metro Denver's program, and Quana immediately felt it was serendipity. She and Zach needed a hand up, and here it was.

"Getting accepted into the Habitat program to buy our first home has had a profound impact on my health," Quana shares. Recently her doctors have asked her what has changed. She has enthusiastically told them, "having a safe, amazing home and community is really helping my recovery."

Quana and Zach recently moved into the new home they purchased at Swansea Homes and are excited to use their creativity and artistic expression to style it.

"We can't wait to make it into a space that is authentically ours." The couple also looks forward to cooking meals and growing their own fruits and vegetables in a garden.

"This entire process has felt like a fantasy," shares Zach. "Thank you for giving us hope that homeownership can actually happen for us!"