Our Families

The Ascencio Family

Isaura Ascensio became a parent at 15. She became a college student on scholarship at 18. And at 21, she was accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program and will soon purchase a new home. Balancing school, work, parenthood and now sweat equity hours, Isaura has sacrificed a lot to get where she is. She had to flee an abusive partner and move multiple times to find safe, affordable places to live.

Currently Isaura and her 6-year-old son, Uriel, live in an apartment in Portland with a roommate to keep housing costs down, but Isaura is worried about rent because her roommate is moving out. They’ve had to move four times in the last five years and Uriel has had to switch schools three times. Isaura said moving schools has hurt Uriel because he is constantly behind his classmates.

“I constantly struggle to keep my son safe from a neglectful and abusive father,” she said. “It’s been a battle between custody, parenting, counselors, school and work. It is hard to find balance.”

Isaura is a student at Portland State University studying communications and international development. She got a full scholarship because of her nationally recognized dedication to community involvement. She currently works as an outreach worker helping low-income people. This summer she will be the first person in her family to graduate from a university. She wants to prove to herself that a single, female parent can demonstrate self-sufficiency and feels Habitat can help her achieve a that.

“I was always told if you go to college you have more opportunities to have financial stability,” she said. “Although that’s true, I think having stable housing is equally important. It makes such a difference to have a place to come home to. Without Habitat, even with a college degree and a job, I wouldn’t be able to get a bank loan or afford a stable home for my son.”

Isaura said affordable homeownership will allow her to worry less about housing and allow her to focus more on being a supportive parent.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was accepted into the Habitat program,” she said. “I feel very fortunate and optimistic for our future.”

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