Manuel knew Jessica was the one from the moment he met her. He asked her to marry him after knowing her for just two weeks. Now, they are happily married with two kids, and they are ready to build a home together.
They currently live with Jessica’s mother. Their place is small, and the kids’ bedroom is also Jessica’s office. They are grateful to have somewhere to stay, but they want to establish their family and make their own rules under their own roof.
Jessica works for the State of Arizona in the Accounting office. She has applied to Habitat not once but twice! The first time, they weren’t sure if Manuel’s citizenship was going to go through, so they decided to wait on homeownership. They wanted to make sure that they could definitely live together in the United States.
As a recent first-generation immigrant, Manuel is working hard to establish himself with a new client base in the construction field. He is skilled with tiling, plumbing, and electrical work. He feels proud to be able to “pay it forward” by lending his skills to the community through Habitat Tucson.
The construction crew knows that if Manuel is there on the construction site, there’s more than enough skill to get the job done.
The current housing market put Jessica and Manuel in a tight spot. Jessica said, “With my income, with how the house prices tripled, we could only afford a home that was pretty much a fixer-upper. But obviously, the bank is not going to give you a loan for a fixer-upper. So we were pretty much stuck. So we were looking at apartments. But we were saying, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s almost the amount that you pay for a mortgage.’”
Jessica lost a little hope when she found out that the number of Habitat Tucson applications skyrocketed due to COVID and inflation.
She said, “I told Manuel, ‘The interview went well, but there’s a lot of people that need this.’ I really didn’t think we’d get it.’”
But then she saw the e-mail that said that they were selected! She felt “tearful. It was an amazing experience.”
Jessica said she is most looking forward to her new home being “Our home. Our space. Our everything. Especially with Habitat’s program, knowing that it’s built by you. That your love, your work, your time, your dedication went into it.”
I just want to thank all the people who help Habitat. I think they’re so kind, because they put in their own time to build something to help people. All the volunteers could’ve just stayed home and relaxed. But when I see everyone, I just have to say, ‘my God!’ I’m just so grateful to be here right now. To be a part of this program.”