Updated: May 17
It’s been 21 years since Beth began her journey with Lakeshore Habitat. She was living in a trailer with her middle school aged daughters, just trying to survive. Working at the local kwik shop in Saugatuck and living in a trailer at the local trailer park that had leaks, electrical problems and rotting floor boards, Beth knew this wasn’t providing the life she always pictured for her girls.
Thinking back to that time, Beth still remembers how her daughters were teased about where they lived. She vividly remembers praying, “God, get us out of here.” A teacher at her daughters’ school was actually who brought up the opportunity of a Habitat home. That teacher’s husband happened to serve on the board of directors at Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity.
As we look through pictures today, Beth shares a small write up in the local paper from when she was accepted into the homeownership program at Lakeshore Habitat. “There is very little opportunity for folks with so little,” is a quote from a friend in the article. It’s still true today – something as necessary as safe and affordable housing is still inaccessible to so many – especially those with fewer resources. “I remember my boss wrote me a letter of recommendation, and a regular customer donated the kitchen cabinets. Through the whole process of building, my girls could see that there were still good people in the world.”
In 2000 while she was journeying through the program and helping build her home, she shared, “I feel very blessed to have been chosen. My kids mean the world to me and this is going to be so wonderful for them. To be in a house that is going to be our own!”
On Christmas Eve, Beth and her daughters spent their first night in their home – a place that offered security and relief for many, many years. A home that offered security while Beth battled breast cancer. A home that offered relief when Beth survived sepsis and had a 10% chance of surviving. A place that now offers relief and security for Beth and her sister, Debbie. “God has been with me through everything, and this house is still such a blessing. I have no plans of moving!”
Today we stand in Beth’s front yard, celebrating that her mortgage is completely paid off. She shares stories about her homeownership journey, what this house and her neighbors have meant to her, and the faith that carried her through many hardships.
Inviting us to pray with her before we left, Beth asked that many more people would be able to experience the gift of HOME through Lakeshore Habitat.
With tears in her eyes, Beth proudly shows the current Lakeshore Habitat staff the pine tree she planted when they moved in and how big it is today. Usually, we celebrate a mortgage being paid off with an office shredding. But with Beth, it only felt right to celebrate at her home, having a ceremonial mortgage burning instead of shredding at one of her favorite spots – her backyard firepit.
To help more individuals like Beth experience the stability of home, give a gift today.