Mattana had little choice when it came to apartments. After struggling to find an affordable place to live while working full-time and taking care of her newborn baby daughter Chloe, she had no choice but to move into a small, one-bedroom apartment in Gresham with two other adult family members just to make ends meet. The apartment was cold, drafty, and crowded. It wasn’t easy for three adults and a newborn to share such a tiny space and emotionally it was very difficult for Mattana to live there. The rent still consumed a large portion of her paycheck.

It’s hard to quantify how much life changes for our homeowners after moving from an unstable and unhealthy housing situation into their new Habitat home. One of the most insidious effects of our housing crisis is the constant stress on renters. Having a stable home can be the difference between just surviving and actually living. For Mattana, homelessness was a real concern. The constant struggle of chasing lower rents also impacts children, often forcing them to change schools multiple times, resulting in up to a half-year loss in education as a result of each move.

After being accepted into Habitat’s homeownership program, Mattana had the opportunity to work on the home her and her daughter would eventually move into. In the brutal winter months, she worked through her sweat equity hours that are required by all families before they are able to move in. Mattana tells her daughter all the time, “We’re lucky to have our own house.”

“Since I moved here everything got better.”

After moving into their Habitat home things started to change. A better job at Pok Pok came along for Mattana, and with the lower mortgage payments and better wages, she could afford to start saving and pay for piano and dance classes for Chloe. And most importantly the new home has enough space for Chloe to practice her cartwheels.