Meet Carnell, Victoria, & Isaac
“He will have what I didn’t have,” is how our new Housatonic Habitat for Humanity homeowner started her story. Sitting in her new Habitat-built home in Danbury, Victoria explained, “My two-year-old will have friends from the beginning. His bond will be so much more than I could ever imagine. Issac will be able to grow up in a community!”
Victoria moved around a lot as a child: Wallkill, Peekskill, as well as part of New York City. Her husband, Carnell, grew up in Manhattan. Neither family owned homes. The couple met almost a decade ago through a mutual friend. “It was a blind date,” Victoria said with a smile. “The best blind date ever.”
It might have seemed like the adage about opposites attracting. Victoria loves sports and played basketball in high school. Carnell loves music and cars. When she is not working full time, Victoria gets her exercise “running around with my son and teaching him how to play sports.” This young household centers around a two-year-old’s emphasis on running, to be sure. – Carnell & Victoria
Isaac loves books, art, and music. He loves to dance and to help mom cook. And, for the last several months, he is his dad’s extra pair of eyes, too. Just before Issac was born, Carnell was diagnosed with a disease which has added challenges to their lives but has not dampened their spirts. They thought that their dreams of owning their own home were dashed. But then they visited a Housatonic Habitat Open House. “The house was perfect!”
The Habitat model meant an affordable home priced to their income – 66% of the median income of greater Danbury. But it is the Habitat advantage of a 0% mortgage with no PMI which allowed them to realistically budget monthly mortgage payments to Habitat – which owns the loan.
“No bank would lend us money for a mortgage,” Victoria said. “While my husband had been a truck driver with a good job, we were now living on my salary as a full-time administrative assistant. Housatonic Habitat knew we might look like a risk on paper but believed in us as a family.” To make sure, the couple attended Habitat’s mandatory financial literacy program and met with volunteers to develop a budget. Sandwiched between medical services and an elementary school, their new home is ideally situated for short- as well as long-term needs. “It’s just perfect for us,” Carnell said.
And, after Victoria and Carnell closed on their house, Victoria went to their new home to paint Isaac’s bedroom green and put his books on his bookshelf. “I just wanted him to know that he had his own room before we moved any of the other furniture in the house.” It was love at first sight! Isaac ran to his new room where everything had been arranged.
“Every time we pull into the driveway, Isaac says, ‘we made it our new home house.’ He says that all the time,” she said. “We’ve told him about how people built this home just for us. That makes him smile. Everything makes him smile. He makes us smile. And it brings a smile our faces. We are so appreciative of how the little things in life that please him bring us joy.”
Victoria and Carnell like the community and lifestyle in Danbury. Located near the Hospital and services for Carnell, the condo is next to the elementary school that Isaac will attend in a few years.
The couple has family in the area – a sister, aunts, grandma, and plenty of cousins. How has owning a home changed their lives? “It’s the confidence that we can raise our son in a stable home that is home to him. We both love the fact that we don’t have to worry about where we will be moving next. We’re home.”