Family Bios: The Pereyra/Martinez Family

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For the past two years, Emilio Pereyra and Dalia Martinez have lived in an aged mobile home with their two young sons. Emilio works full-time at a barge and railroad car manufacturer in Portland while Dalia takes care of their children.

Emilio and Dalia’s children are continually sick from the mold and fungus that grows inside their mobile home due to poor plumbing and moisture problems. Their bathroom once flooded, damaging a bedroom, furniture and flooring. There are now soft spots in the floor that the family has to step around to make sure they don’t fall through. The mobile home is poorly insulated and the furnace has been broken for several months. When it is cold, the family relies on a small portable heater that they move from room to room. All of the doors in the home, including the front door, have a gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. In the winter, Dalia routinely stuffs old rags in the gaps to eliminate drafts and keep what little heat they have inside. In the summer, there is little they can do to escape the heat, and their home is often hotter inside than it is outside.

“In the winter it is very cold and you can feel the air coming in through the doors,” Dalia said. “In the summer it is very hot. When it is 80 degrees outside, it feels like 100 degrees inside.”

Dalia’s father knew about the Habitat program and said that the family should apply to buy their own home.

“My dad said Habitat helps families like ours become homeowners,” Dalia said. “All we want is to become homeowners and have a stable and safe home to raise our boys.”

Emilio and Dalia have been working together at Rivergate Commons, accruing their 500 hours of sweat equity. The two have done everything from installing windows and trim to recycling construction materials. They enjoy the learning experience and the physical challenge they get while using their own hands to build their home. Emilio and Dalia often think about their sons while they work on site.

“We think about living in our own home and how we want our family to live there for years,” Dalia said. “Our children are going to grow up in this home. They are going to be safe here and able to concentrate on going to school instead of moving or being sick all the time.”

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