2019: Welcome home, new homeowners
Becoming a first-time homeowner is always a momentous occasion. But for Habitat Omaha homeowners, this accomplishment feels extra special. By the time closing documents are signed, families who purchase their homes through Habitat Omaha have spent nearly a year completing up to 350 hours of sweat equity on the build site and in homeownership workshops. They’ve gone through financial planning courses and have saved for their down payment. It’s these extra steps that help ensure move-in day is the beginning of a long, successful journey.
On dedication day, we gift each new homeowner with their family’s portrait. These images are filled with life, love and joy. Each one tells a unique story yet at the same time shows our common threads. We see families holding hands. New parents cradling young infants. Single moms and dads beaming with pride. Multi-generational households with strong roots in the past and beautiful branches growing into the future.
Through these portraits, we see so clearly the values that those drawn to Habitat Omaha’s mission share. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to build their own future. And we know the stability of affordable homeownership is a solid foundation on which to build a wonderful life.
Read the stories of four new homeowners, then view the gallery of family portraits below.
Net Saw Htoo and Ka Poe Doh Soe
For Net Saw and Ka Soe, the dream of buying a home revolved around their son, Jason. They want him to have a secure place to grow up where they can all “live like a family.” Net Saw and Ka Soe spent their own childhoods in a refugee camp before being granted asylum to the United States as teenagers. The adjustment hasn’t been easy, but they are proud of how far they’ve come.
Together, the family of three enjoys watching cartoons and playing outside. In fact, it was the big backyard that drew Net Saw and Ka Soe to their home. They look forward to planting vegetable and flower gardens, and hosting gatherings for family and friends.
After serving his country, August moved to Rochester, New York, where he had a successful career producing television shows. He also lived in Houston before a relationship brought him to Omaha in June 2017. A work injury from 2005 kept him from holding a job, so when the relationship ended, August found himself homeless. “I came from a stable background,” August said. “I had never been homeless. I fell from the top and had to get back up.”
August applied for Habitat Omaha’s Homeownership Program and was accepted. The following year, August found himself outside his new house in the Kountze Park neighborhood, surrounded by Habitat Omaha staff, friends and neighbors congratulating him at his home dedication. “The whole thing was an exciting adventure I’m still living,” August said.
Fartun has known significant hardship in her lifetime. When her family had an opportunity to come to America, she welcomed the chance to build a new life.
Fartun applied three times before she was accepted into Habitat Omaha’s homeownership program.
Today, she and her children have room to play games and spend time together, and welcome family and friends for celebrations with homemade sambusas and cangera (dinner pancakes).
Fartun shared that she is thankful to the volunteers and supporters who helped her realize her dream.
“I never really thought I’d be a homeowner until my son was born,” Natasha told us. “It’s all for him!”
Natasha calls Dawayne her “miracle baby.” Dawayne was born prematurely, weighing only 2 pounds, 2 ounces at birth, and for the last five years, he’s brought a new focus to her life.
They love to travel: to theme parks, to the zoo, to Lincoln to spend time with Natasha’s brother and his daughter, to anywhere near water. But mostly, Natasha loves spending time at home with her son. Now she has a house of her own, a place she can one day pass on to him.