Before moving to Diamond Park, Atiya rented her home in South Philadelphia for eight years. With a growing family, the uncertainty of long-term renting weighed on her. She wanted a safe and stable environment where her children would be comfortable to grow. She learned about the program from a neighbor who was working through their 350 sweat equity hours. Atiya, who works at the Philadelphia Passport Agency, applied to begin her journey to homeownership and a more stable life for her children.
“The reason I wanted a house was so the kids can have something I can pass onto them.”
Moving to a new part of the city can be a daunting task. Living in South Philly all her life, Atiya had many neighbors, friends and family she could count on. When moving north, she feared that sense of community would be lost—but Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia helped fill the role. Atiya’s three-bedroom rowhome is on a block lined with Habitat for Humanity homeowners. She found that meeting and working alongside her new neighbors helped them form a strong bond. Now, she knows she can turn to her Habitat neighbors for support and comfort. In her words, “it’s like a little family.”
Atiya says that the Habitat homeowners helped her through this journey. She grew especially close with another family in her cohort, who settled on their home the same day. Throughout the process, they would text each other messages of encouragement to help each other get through each day—juggling family obligations and every day life with the sweat equity hours needed to build a brighter future. “Having my trust in God and their support got me through.”
“Home is everything. We share it together. Being stable and having security for them [the children] is everything to me.”
Atiya hopes that as her children grow, they learn from the qualities she expressed in her experience, working towards a greater goal so that they can live better lives. 10-year-old Janai already echoes this: “My favorite part of the house is that we’re finally in a home that my mom doesn’t have to rent… and I like the basement because I have all the space to do whatever I want!” In addition, 5-year-old, energetic Aidan loves that he has his own room with two beds.
Atiya sees success and growth in her future. She is still in the infancy of her life as a homeowner, but with her faith, family, and neighbors, she knows that there are good things in store ahead. She is looking forward to the summer months when the family is settled, and she can become more involved in the community.