Jesus describes his family as united and hardworking and his youngest son, Carlos, agrees.
“When our dad works on our home, we all pitch in. We all get our own hammers. He helps us with our homework so it’s fun to get to help him,” he says.
Jesus, Karla, and their three children – Elvis, Carlos and Elani – own a small two-bedroom mobile home that sits on a rented lot in a mobile park.
They purchased the mobile when it was in bad shape, with the intention of remodeling it little by little. But the process was halted when Jesus had to undergo mandatory surgery for a rotator cuff injury. In 2011, Jesus was working construction in Sierra Vista when he fell 14 feet, breaking his clavicle and scapula.
The flooring in the mobile home still needs to be replaced. Windows still need insulation and the roof leaks when it rains. While their lot is near the entrance of the park and therefore feels more secure, dangerous and illegal activities take place in the park frequently, and Jesus says that the police come to the park almost every weekend. Their children can’t play outside of the home because their property isn’t securely fenced in and cars race through the park at unsafe speeds.
For Karla and Jesus, their children’s health, education and safety are their priorities. Updated appliances in their future Habitat home such as a heater will keep their seven-year-old son, Carlos, from getting sick so often. “I have to wear long pants and extra layers to bed so I don’t get sick from the cold,” says Carlos. “If I get sick, I can’t play with my friends,” he adds.
“Home means when it’s raining you won’t get wet,” says Carlos who currently lives in a mobile home with a leaky roof.
Despite Jesus’ injuries, he is completing the majority of the family’s sweat equity hours while Karla works full-time and goes to school to become a nurse.
“It’s hard for our parents. They do so much,” says Carlos. But when he thinks of what home means to him, he calls it, “A place where our parents keep us safe. Home means that when it’s raining, we won’t get wet.”