“Where are They Now?”: Featuring Habitat Homeowner April Heimann
The path to becoming a homeowner with Habitat for Humanity can be challenging. It takes financial preparation and planning, including taking a hard and honest look at one’s current income, credit, and debt. From there, some future homeowners spend months or years – with the guidance of Helena Habitat – working to create the financial stability needed to take on an affordable mortgage. Then there’s the waiting to be selected for an upcoming round of homebuilding and – finally – the year-long commitment of investing in one’s home by providing “Sweat Equity”. This is when the physical work begins and individuals, families, and their friends and relatives who choose to volunteer spend one evening and one full day a week working together to construct the houses they will soon own.
It takes a strong and dedicated individual to make this journey to homeownership for their family. April Heiman is one such woman who partnered with Helena Habitat in 2018 and 2019 to build the home that she now shares with her three children. With it having been over a year since she moved into her new self-built home on Twilight Ave, we were excited for the chance to follow up and ask her about life after Habitat. Read below to see what she had to say:
What was it like working and building with Helena Habitat?
“Working and building with Habitat was a great experience. The Habitat staff were extremely supportive and encouraging. They communicated with us in a very clear and understanding way. They were very patient with us throughout the whole process with our many questions and concerns.”
What was the most rewarding thing about the experience?
“The most rewarding thing about the building experience for me were the relationships that were built. One of my neighbors/co-builders is now one of my best friends.”
What was the most difficult part of the experience?
“The most difficult part of the experience for me was the great time commitment it required. I work a full-time and a part-time job, and have 3 children. I remember being so physically and emotionally exhausted many days throughout the year and a half building process. There were many weeks I didn’t think I could do it all again, but thankfully I never gave up!”
How is your life different now from when you first moved in?
“Since moving into our house in May of 2019 we feel very blessed. Having a home we love, and that is affordable has given us the freedom to do more fun activities together as a family. We love the neighborhood we live in, and feel very safe and comfortable there.”
How has homeownership impacted your life?
“I am so thankful to be a homeowner. I always felt like renting was just throwing money away each month, so I am glad I no longer have to do that. I have great pride in my home, and know what a privilege it is to actually be a homeowner.”
What is something you did not expect about homeownership?
“Homeownership is pretty much what I expected. I feel like the Habitat staff (Sophia in particular), did a great job of preparing me for what owning a home would be like, and all the financial things that go with it.”
What advice would you give to someone considering partnering with Helena Habitat as an owner/builder?
“I would tell someone entering the Habitat Program to never give up. I would tell them that it is going to be difficult and that they will get worn out. I would also tell them to “keep their eye on the prize”, because it all worth it in the end. Having your own home is worth all the trials you may face going through the building process. I would also let them know how important it is to communicate with the people they are building with and the Habitat staff.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“I think the only other thing I would say is to remind them to thank the volunteers. It really is quite amazing how many people came together to build the Twilight homes. I wouldn’t have a home if it weren’t for every single one of them. Still today I am humbled and grateful for all the hands that built my home. :)”
If you are interested in partnering with Helena Area Habitat for Humanity to build your home please click here to fill out our pre-qualification form.
If you wish to help support our vision in which “Everyone has a Decent Place to Live” click here to receive information about our volunteering opportunities or select the button at the bottom of this page to donate.