Family Stories

Hear from the Habitat Greater San Francisco families about how homeownership has impacted their lives and those of their children.

Special needs teacher, Edith, able to keep helping Bay Area kids

When Edith looks into the eyes of her students, she sees her 25 year-old son, Ulisess. Edith teaches students who share similar special needs as Ulisess.

This has been a longtime dream for Edith to become a teacher and make an impact by teaching children who are just like her son. Edith is also bilingual and noticed that there was a need for Spanish-speaking teachers to serve this very population in her community.

As a mother of three, Edith raised her family while going to college over the course of 10 years. She became a Habitat homeowner in 2008 and with predictable housing payments, she was able to save for the first time. This allowed her to go back to school and earn a Bachelor’s degree in Child Adolescent Development and a Master’s in Special Education. This past May, Edith proudly graduated from San Francisco State University.

To support our work housing families just like Edith’s please visit our donation page.

Homeowner in entranceway of house.

“If it was not for Habitat, my life would have been focused on surviving. And, here I am today with a Master’s Degree and my children are thriving, and I am able to pursue my passion for teaching, which allows me to give back to my community and helps provide meaning for my life.”

Edith, homeowner

Jen, Alec and their family make a future in San Francisco

Jennifer and Alec’s apartment was overcrowded and it was becoming an increasing challenge to raise their family there. When they looked for options to stay in the city, the going rate for market-rate rental was completely unaffordable (and their income did not qualify them for a below market rate home). They were facing the real prospect of having to leave behind the community they loved and moving to the central valley.

Thankfully, they became proud Habitat homeowners in San Francisco. Their home means Jennifer and Alec can stay in their long-term community and raise their children near their parents. Because of their predictable mortgage payments, capped at 30 percent of their annual income, they are able to plan for the future and start saving for their children’s college education. After all these years, Jennifer and Alec can confidently call San Francisco their home.

To support our work housing families just like Jen and Alec’s please visit our donation page.

Family at home

“Being a homeowner feels unreal to us, especially since we came so close to having to leave the city. Owning a home brings a sense of security we simply haven’t had before.”

Jen, homeowner

Home Repairs make Patricia’s home warm and safe place for her retirement

Patricia’s home is decorated with San Francisco history — black and white photographs of famous jazz musicians who would drop by for her mother’s famous suppers and relatives who have long since passed away.  

But her four walls have housed more than just memories. It’s also been a refuge for those in need. When Patricia, 72 years-old, found out that her daughter’s childhood friend was living on the streets, she put a roof over her head for two years.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Patricia worked her whole career for the city of San Francisco. But after going on disability, she was unable to maintain her house on a fixed income. As the only homeowner in her family, it was critical that she kept her home, as it continues to be a stable environment to raise her grandchildren.

After finding a Neighborhood Revitalization postcard in her mailbox, Patricia reached out to Habitat. Habitat volunteers fixed Patricia’s stairs and door, repainted the home’s exterior, and revived the house to a safer condition. Without the worry of losing her home, Patricia is back to concentrating on her next charity project and focusing on her grandchildren.

Homeowner inside at home

“I was born in San Francisco. I worked for the city. I raised my children and volunteered in this very community. There is nowhere else I have called home besides San Francisco.”

Patricia, home preservation partner

Graciela & Efrain in a home of their own

Graciela, Efrain, and their 3 children (2 school-aged daughters and a 3 year-old son) rented a four-bedroom Redwood City home. Unfortunately, to afford the rent on the home, they rented out 2 of the 4 bedrooms.  So their family of 5 lived in only two bedrooms. After qualifying and completing their sweat equity hours, their family moved into their Habitat home over the summer of 2021.

Graciela, an office manager, explained, “we work hard for our money and being able to save as we pay the mortgage will make us feel more stable and fulfilled. The no-down payment and 0% loan from Habitat is a blessing as we will save money for an emergency and this makes our lives less stressful.”   

Moving out of a rental into a home they own has many advantages. Graciela said, “In this home I hope to see my children grow and make memories. My girls will have their own space (both girls are excited to decorate their rooms).  We will be able to live on our own and still afford the mortgage payment.” The family will have no more need to share their home in order to afford it. 

To support our work providing homeownership opportunities to families just like Graciela and Efrain’s please visit our donation page.

“Our goal has always been to be able to buy a home and even though we have tried we never qualified in the Bay Area.  We would have qualified to buy a home in Modesto or Fresno, a far-away area. Knowing that we have the opportunity to own a home in the Peninsula has been a dream come true and to know I am not throwing my money away on rent is amazing.”  

Graciela, homeowner