Today, The Quinones Family receives the keys to a new affordable home built by Habitat for Humanity of South Central New Jersey. Together, with friends and family along with the support of community leaders and Habitat staff, volunteers, and supporters, they celebrate the partnerships and hard work it took to achieve such a feat.
Lori Leonard, CEO at Habitat SCNJ, shares, “We feel so lucky to be a part of Elba’s homeownership journey. She knew what she wanted for her family and worked tirelessly to get to where she is today. I can’t wait to hear about the amazing things she accomplishes now that she has the foundation of a safe and affordable place for her and her children.”
Elba Quinones has been striving towards owning a home for some time now. She wants to be able to provide her family with more space and stability than their previous living situations, and most importantly, she wants to build a legacy to leave for her children. Prior to purchasing her Habitat Home, Elba and her three children lived together in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment. The small space for no more than necessities and essential tasks for the single mom with two adolescents and a preschooler.
More than anything, Elba wanted her kids to have space to work on school projects, have alone time, and spend together at the dinner table. And after facing challenges with remote school and work in the apartment in recent years, she was ready to do whatever it took to become a homeowner. Elba remembered Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program and applied online when she saw that a home in Hightstown was accepting applications. At first, she wasn’t picked in the random selection for the home, but she wasn’t deterred. Elba took steps to improve her credit score, saved money, and applied for new Habitat homeownership opportunities as they became available. Her diligence paid off when she was selected in the fall of 2021 for a new home in Hightstown.
Now, after six months of attending weekly financial classes, preparing for homeownership with her mentor, and putting in hundreds of hours on the work site, Elba is closing on her very own home. When asked to reflect on her experience, Elba shares, “Don’t give up, pray, and don’t lose hope! When God wants it for you and is ready, He will make a way!”
Elba is purchasing her home with an affordable mortgage that she can pay with her salary as an assistant at an insurance agency. The principle, taxes, and homeowner insurance will cost no more than 30% of her income, which will allow her to budget for emergencies, support her growing children, and plan for the future. Her home is also located next door to another Habitat family who purchased their home last fall, offering her a feeling of familiarity in her new community.
Habitat for Humanity would like to thank the wonderful funders and partners that contributed to the home’s construction. A special thanks to Hightstown Township for providing Affordable Housing Trust Funds and Wells Fargo for awarding grant funds for the development of the home.