Deborah built and bought her home with Habitat over 20 years ago. She reached out to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati's Aging in Place Program to make modifications to her home to help her live safely and independently in her home as she ages.
For Deborah, being able to age in her home means that she will be able to continue to be surrounded by her community and the support systems that she built over 20 years. Deborah says, "my neighbors [who also own Habitat homes] have been so delightful since we moved in and got connected here. We actually call each other 'sister-neighbor-friends', and that’s what makes it so good here. We just really kind of bonded and have a kind of kinship. It’s so good for me to have that because I’m an only child. I’m just here, but not on my own because they have become family." Deborah is even the godmother to one of her neighbors' children.
With the Repair Program, Deborah was able to convert her bathtub to a walk-in shower, move her washer and drier from the basement to the first floor, and remove a dangerous tree. She says, “it has really given me advantages to be able to maneuver in my home to be able to function better in my home. The shower was hard to get in and out of⎯and then you have that fear of slipping. Now it’s just easy to go right through.”
“The new location of the washer and drier is excellent because I don’t have to wrestle the laundry up and down the stairs and worry about falling.”
Deborah noticed the huge tree in her backyard started leaning over her neighbor’s houses. She knew it needed to be taken down, but when she got a quote for removal it was over $8,000. “I had so many frightening thoughts every time I saw on the news trees falling on people’s houses. It’s just beautiful the way that Habitat extends this opportunity because I wouldn’t have been able to afford that.”
“After all the modifications I was able to make with Habitat, I will be able to stay in my home for much, much longer. The main things that I needed to get done to keep me in my home and to not be limited are complete⎯and it’s a great thing. […] that peace of mind is just wonderful,” says Deborah.
When reflecting on her Habitat journey, Deborah says, "it’s a beautiful thing to be a single, African American woman with your own home. There are things that I could say that were not great in my life, but look where I am now and all the wonderful things in my life. And Habitat has always been there for me."