The James Family

After spending more than 20 years as a refugee, escaping political threat in his home country of Burma and living in camps in Thailand, Joshua James never dreamed about the idea of owning a home.

“There were many challenges as a refugee,” said Joshua. “I knew I wanted more opportunity for my family.”

That opportunity came in the form of a move to the United States.  Joshua, his wife Aemorn, mother Rosalynn and two children flew from Thailand to the US with very little possessions and a whole lot of hope.

Joshua works full time as a machine operator in a plant.  He is grateful for his job and the ability to provide stability for his family.  The only issue is he simply does not make enough to afford a decent place to call home.  Their current apartment has a serious mold problem, causing health problems for his elderly mother and children.  Their heater is old and inefficient, making their home very cold and drafty during the winter. But Joshua is never one to give up, and his hope for a better home for his family led him to Habitat and the idea that maybe he could someday own a home – something he never thought would be a reality.

Joshua heard about Habitat through family friends, applied right away, and was accepted into the program in the fall of 2014.

“When Reianna called and said my family was accepted into the program I was more than happy,” said Joshua. “It was like a castle was built in the air and dropped down on earth and I had the chance to own it!”

This “castle” will be built with the help of hundreds of volunteers, fellow Habitat partner families and his own hands, as he puts in 500 hours of sweat equity building, before he purchases his home with a 0-% interest mortgage.

“I am happy for my whole family, but especially for my children. They will have their own rooms and have stability like they have never had before.  It will be pretty, healthy and a new freedom!”