Homeowner Stories

Ribbon cutting 3

Jessica Gates (right) and Family

Jessica Gates 

On August 16, 2016, Jessica Gates and her three children, moved into their new home. This home was built through faith, love, and community.

Once Jessica had received news that she had been accepted into the program, she felt it had given her, “a renewed sense of faith, not just in God, but in (herself), and in what (she) could attain”.

Before moving into her own home, it was necessary for Jessica to complete her sweat equity service. The Habitat for Humanity Home Ownership program requires potential homeowners to complete 300 hours of sweat equity service. While half of these hours must be completed by the potential homeowner themselves, the other 150 hours could be donated from other volunteers, family members, or friends. When hearing this number, Jessica was shocked. “Do I even know that many people?”, she wondered. She began to doubt her ability to accomplish this task.

With the help of Habitat for Humanity, Jessica was able to find the help she needed. She was able to form fantastic relationships with other potential homeowners who were going through the same process alongside her. “At the worksite I would tell people ‘Oh I’m a homeowner and I’m working on my hours, and they would say ‘Well what can I do to help you’”, Jessica said, “It was such a blessing because it feels like you’re facing such a mountain to climb, but when you’ve got others who are beside you and climbing that mountain with you, you’re like ‘okay I think this is doable’”. Throughout the process, Jessica felt a great, welcoming energy coursing through the Habitat for Humanity community.  “I was just blown away by consistent kindness at every corner that you turn”, Jessica said.

In 2016, after moving into her new home, Jessica decided to explore a career as a realtor. Her new house had given her the inspiration to motivate and help others find a house that feels like home. “If you give a person a home, they can thrive”, Jessica said. They can think, “‘I have this safe space to come to, I can paint it all the comforting colors, I can put all the wonderful things in it that make me feel safe and feel comforted, and feel what it means to be at home’”.

When asking Jessica what having a home means to her, she replied, “A home is where the people you love are… A home gives people a safe place, a landing space”. A home is not just a house. It’s a place where you can feel a sense of privacy within your family. To Jessica, her home is a place where her kids could grow up, having their own personal space to explore any hobby they choose. “My lot, my kingdom”, Jessica said.


Written by: Sarah Jung