15 years in the making: Erika’s road to homeownership

Originally from Guatemala, Erika applied for a permanent resident card in 2006 in hopes of one day being able to purchase a house. She wanted to provide her family with a stable home after having experienced domestic abuse from her previous husband.

While living in Grand Island, Erika and her friends, who are Habitat homeowners, spent several Saturday mornings making meals and delivering them to volunteers working at Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity build sites.

After moving to Omaha, Erika waited patiently for the day she could apply to buy a house of her own through Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. Erika had lived in the U.S. since she was 15. Finally, in 2018, after 12 years, she received her residency and began her homeownership journey.

“We were accepted into the program in 2019, but there were many on the list,” she said. “It took three rounds for our family to be selected to purchase a house.”

Erika, her husband and their four children drove by the build site almost daily to view its progress.

“We started driving by as soon as construction started,” she said. “We would get so excited every time.”

Erika closed on June 16, giving her family just enough time to settle in and prepare for her baby’s arrival in September. She’s excited for her oldest son, who will be attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the fall, to have his own room to study and complete schoolwork.

“I want all of my kids to have a bit of privacy,” she said. “I’m excited for my youngest two to play in our backyard.”

After years of waiting, Erika’s is finally a proud first-time homeowner of a newly built five-bedroom home.

“I decided to purchase a house because I wanted to invest my money in a property that would be ours,” Erika said. “I did this for my children. It’s our children’s future.”