Typical HFH Home.JPG

Meet our families

Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) opened its doors in 1987 and has provided affordable homeownership to 72 families. 

HABITAT in Holyoke - 58.jpeg
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, in the summer of 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.

HABITAT in Holyoke - 42.jpeg
Meet Jennifer
 

Single mother Jennifer and her three teenage boys will soon move into a three-bedroom home currently under construction in Holyoke, Massachusetts. After becoming a teen mom, she 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. Within her current apartment, her two youngest sons share a bedroom and bed. Looking for a sense of privacy and space, the youngest boy sleeps on the couch. Additionally, the neighborhood they live in is very unsafe. It has several vacant buildings, homeless people, drugs, and vehicles are 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.

332 Bay St - MC - Emery family.png
Meet Natasha
 

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.”

To see Natasha's dedication ceremony held Monday, May 23, 2022, click below.

whole family front porch.png
Meet Ana 

Ana continually strives to make herself the best mother she can be and she knew a home is what her children needed. Before Ana applied to GSHFH, she worked to improve her credit, enrolled in several courses and programs, including Way Finders’ Family Self-Sufficiency program, a financial education, and a first-time homeowners course. Upon successful completion, the medical receptionist opened her first bank account and applied to GSHFH homeownership program in April 2018. Even though she wasn’t selected, she continued her commitment to meet GSHFH’s homeownership program requirements. Ana reapplied in early 2019 and was selected for the four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Springfield. In April 2021, the family celebrated the completion of construction with a dedication ceremony. Click below to see images from the event. The family moved into their new house in May 2021.
Tupa Tupa Family Photo 2 12.20.png
Meet TupaTupa and Faida

TupaTupa, his wife Faida, and their children are a refugee family from Africa who immigrated to the United States in 2015. Under the guidance and support of Jewish Family Services of Western Massachusetts, they settled in Springfield and enrolled the children in school. In the six years since they arrived, they’ve integrated themselves in the community and expanded their family and welcomed their fourth child. At church, another refugee told TupaTupa and Faida about Habitat and how their family benefitted from the program. Realizing owning a “personal house” is a dream of theirs, they applied to our homeownership program in spring of 2020 and were accepted in October 2020. In February 2021, the family moved into their three-bedroom Springfield home. Click below to see images from that day.
Marielis with kids.png
Meet Marielis

In 2016, Marielis moved from New Jersey to Springfield, Massachusetts, with a dream to make a better life for her daughter. Her journey with GSHFH began in late 2018-early 2019, when the apartment she lived in had been condemned. She and her two children moved in with a family member and set up a temporary home in one room. In July 2020, her two-story, three-bedroom home was complete and the family moved in, excited for the space to grow and call their own.
Raphaels%20Holyoke_edited.png
Meet Ibrahim and Josaphina

After facing tremendous tragedy and overwhelming struggles, Ibrahim and his wife Josaphina, immigrated to the United States from a Tanzanian refugee camp in 2015. With their four children and his sister in tow, Ibrahim was determined to create a better life for his family. In 2018, he was accepted into Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity program and construction soon began on his four-bedroom home. Around Thanksgiving 2019, the family moved into their new Holyoke home, a dream that Ibrahim couldn't have fathomed just 16 years ago.
Klein Family.png
Meet Brandon and Sara

When Brandon and Sara applied for the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity program in autumn 2018, the couple lived in a small two-bedroom apartment with their three boys. The apartment was not up to code, had faulty electrical work, and no wheelchair ramp. The couple's oldest son has cerebral palsy, is nonverbal, and uses a wheelchair. Additionally, once inside the apartment, there was little room for the wheelchair, and the boy was carried. Due to all of their son's equipment, there was little space for the other two boys to play. Brandon and Sara wanted more for their family. In summer 2019, the family moved into their new three-bedroom Springfield home with modifications, including a stair lift, that allows their children to grow and thrive. 

For more information on how to become one of our partner families, go to