Ms. Evelyn was raised in Sharswood, North Philadelphia in a large family and has spent most of her life in the neighborhood. 25 years ago, Ms. Evelyn bought a home in Sharswood in need of repair. The drain line was corroded, there were holes in the walls, and the utilities were outdated. However, for years, she and her brothers did their best to ensure that the house was a safe place for her grandchildren and great-granddaughter to live.
Eventually, the repairs became too extensive for Ms. Evelyn and her family. Philadelphia License and Inspections mandated that she repair a bulging wall on the second floor, but she was denied entry to a state-funded repair program. The project was too expensive. Concerned and lost, Evelyn turned to her neighbors. That’s when she learned about Habitat for Humanity and their repair program. The moment she was accepted, Ms. Evelyn cried tears of joy.
Ms. Evelyn is a well-known, active member of the Sharswood community. She is one of the two original homeowners that still reside on her block. To her, North Philadelphia is a place for family and community to gather. Evelyn has a busy schedule: she takes care of 12-year-old great-granddaughter Asiyah, attends a grandparents’ class, a senior citizens’ class, and her church of 28 years. In her free time, she enjoys crafting, and frequently knits gifts for friends and neighbors. She loves having people in her home for every event and is especially excited to decorate her whole house for Christmas.
With Habitat’s help, Ms. Evelyn’s home is once again a safe haven for her family to gather. Habitat rebuilt the bulging front wall, and replaced a corroded drain line and boiler. Updated utilities keep her and her family warm, and aid Evelyn in the recovery from a recent knee surgery. A safety package that includes an address plate, hand rails, and lighting also allows her to exit and enter her home safely each day. Thanks to Habitat’s repair program, Evelyn’s old home is still a gathering place for Asiyah and her friends, her grandchildren, and her community.
Ms. Evelyn remembers a time when she played at the park by her home in Sharswood, and now she can watch her great-granddaughter, Asiyah, work her summer job at that very same park. Evelyn proudly describes Asiyah as a great student who makes honor roll, is active at her church, and practices cheerleading.
For Ms. Evelyn, the Habitat repair team is now an extension of her big happy family. She advocates for Habitat within her community by spreading the word to her neighbors. The affordability of the program gave her the chance to stay with her family in a community she knows and loves.