“Without Habitat I would never, ever have a home.”
When Sherry looks across her life, it’s a little unbelievable. “I’ve moved probably hundreds of times in my lifetime so far. I just want a home. It’s been my dream for always. I’ve always wanted somewhere to call my own.”
When Sherry was very young, both of her parents passed away. All her childhood, she and her four siblings were passed around from aunt and uncle to aunt and uncle and, eventually, from foster home to foster home. The very youngest siblings were adopted. But Sherry and her older sister felt like a burden.
“None of them really wanted us. That’s when I started getting in trouble – because when you’re not wanted…” she trailed off. Her face tightened as if she were sealing something in.
Now Sherry and her adult daughter Skye live together and support one another. Sherry worries about the trauma Skye experienced growing up, how one time Skye called the police because her father was choking her mother. When Sherry and her daughters were able to safely leave, he took all of her belongings into the backyard and lit them on fire. Skye calls it “the bonfire.”
From then on, Sherry wanted to make a safe place for just her and her children. And slowly, life has gotten better. For the past four years, Sherry has been working as an office manager at a sign company answering phones, keeping the books, helping with permitting and printing. And at home, Skye is Sherry’s whole world.
“I just want something to leave my children. To have enough to get by without having to worry.”
Where they live right now, those dreams are hard to achieve. In their apartment complex, the laundry room is frequently broken into, and it’s not uncommon to see drug activity around. “We wouldn’t want to leave our windows open at night,” Sherry says.
Recently, they had a severe leak that flooded the hallway. Skye and Sherry were bailing out water for weeks. And there was also a cockroach infestation – even with spray and caulking and glue traps, it felt like there were roaches everywhere. Every time they sign a lease, the lease goes up.
But the fire in Sherry’s eyes – the way they light up when she thinks of the future – how she craves a yard and a place to grow – the way she says the word, “Home,” and sighs like she’s sinking into a silken pillow. Sherry looks forward to a place of peace. A safe place for her family.
Skye gives a soft grin and says, “A home is a secret lair.” A place of one’s own. A place of privacy, security, and peace.
Sherry will be moving into the Women Build house this year!
Women Build brings community members together from all walks of life to build stronger, safer, and more equitable housing. We believe equality for all women, a strong sense of self and confidence, and empowering women to achieve economic independence are vitally important issues.