Meet our families
Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) opened its doors in 1987 and has provided affordable homeownership to 72 families.
Meet Ireydiza and Juan
Ireydiza and her husband Juan will soon purchase a three-bedroom Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, by Christmas 2022. The couple has two young children. Just four years ago, the family was happy, healthy, and dreaming of buying their first home. Then tragedy struck. A workplace injury disabled Juan, the breadwinner. Following several surgeries and two strokes, their dreams were put on hold. Juan was unable to return to work. Ireydiza left school to be the sole breadwinner, create time to care for her young children and recuperating husband.
“He has a permanent handicap placard at the age of 33. He lives with chronic pain every day of his life,” Ireydiza said. “The stroke left him with chronic migraines, which he now gets Botox for every 12 weeks to help alleviate the pain. He is unable to walk or stand for a long period of time, and he has a weakness on his right side.”
Despite the pain and struggle, Juan gives back where he can. Whether it’s playing with his children, sharing his story on social media to bring awareness to strokes and the symptoms, or supplying food to the homeless, Juan is determined to make the best of his situation.
The family is eager to move forward and out of the apartment, which in winter is cold in the living room and master bedroom. Plus, Juan and Ireydiza’s bedroom is on the second floor, which Juan has trouble reaching due to the stairs.
“We’ve been trying to leave for a while. This neighborhood has a bad reputation,” said Juan. “We want something different for our kids. We want them to be able to give them something where they come home and say, ‘This is our home’.”
To see Juan and Ireydiza's dedication ceremony, which was shared with Jennifer, held Monday, July 18, 2022, click below.
In October, single mother Jennifer purchased a three-bedroom home in Holyoke, Massachusetts. She moved in with her three teenage boys. After becoming a teen mom, Jennifer said she struggled to earn better than minimum wage. With her mother’s help, she went back to school and became a certified medical assistant working at a local doctor’s office. In doing so she achieved financial stability and overcame many of the obstacles facing a young mom. But, she wanted more for children.
Since divorcing her abusive husband, Jennifer has strived for a safe and decent affordable home. In her recent apartment, her two youngest sons shared a bedroom and bed. Looking for a sense of privacy and space, the youngest boy slept on the couch. Additionally, the neighborhood was in a very unsafe area. It had several vacant buildings, homeless people, drugs, and vehicles were frequently vandalized.
“I see so much better for my children and I want to be able to provide them a forever home – a place where we will feel safe, stable, happy, and accomplished,” Jennifer said. “We want a place to create beautiful memories for many years to come.”
To see Jennifer's dedication ceremony held Monday, July 18, 2022, in conjunction with Juan and Ireydiza's dedication event, click below.
Natasha, a single mother of two sons and previous applicant, reapplied to the homeownership program in summer 2020. Their current home, a rented apartment, has several issues, including heating, plumbing, mold, bugs, and a lack of a security system. Springfield native Natasha is a “fixer” and often finds solutions to the challenges, but wants more for her boys. Since learning of her acceptance into the program, Natasha said she and her sons have driven past the lot of their future home and often imagine what it’ll be like to live there. They won’t have to wonder any longer. Natasha closed on the house in June 2022.
“Being able to give my boys a home of our own has been a dream of mine for a long time,” Natasha said. “To be able to have a backyard for them to play around in means so much.”