The Simino Family

The Siminos have spent most of their lives trying to help other people feel at home. As long-term missionaries for over 30 years, Robert and Alexis, along with their children, have lived and worked in South America, Mexico, Canada, and nine U.S. states.

In 2001 they came to Portland to be part of a ministry that brought in street kids for a hot meal, warm clothes and a break from street life. When their partners in the ministry moved on to other things, the Siminos had to adjust to a new lifestyle. With a lifetime of experience that doesn’t fit neatly on a résumé, they struggled to find work. Alexis eventually found a job at a deli and Robert is attending school to learn new job skills. Their apartment has been an extra source of stress.

“It’s not like having your own place, that’s for sure,” said Alexis, as she explained how their proximity to a busy street has created noise and safety issues, including an incident in which a car collided into their spare bedroom.

The Siminos share their Gresham apartment, which also has mold problems, lead plumbing and very old carpets, with their twin daughters. The ability to give their daughters their own space is just one reason Robert and Alexis are thrilled to become homeowners.

“For us, it will be a comfort to know we have a place for our kids.”

Acceptance into the Habitat for Humanity program has given the Siminos hope for a better future. Alexis is looking forward to freedom from the unpredictability of Section 8 housing and to finding a sense of community—plus her own washer and dryer. Robert sees their future home as a lifelong opportunity.

Thanks to Fish Construction NW and Habitat supporters, the Simino family home was completed on Friday, June 13, as part of Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz 2014.