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“My house will be safe, comfortable and it will be open with open arms for friends and family, anytime.”

Patricia Arias, Juan Rios, and their cat Pepito, is a small-but-mighty family of three that is on their journey towards homeownership with Habitat. Juan is a automotive technician at Autonation Toyota and has worked there for a little over a year. Patricia works as a CNA in her client’s home setting with a company called Right at Home. She has been here for almost 4 years! “Our family may be small,” Patricia says, “but we have so much love for each other.” The couple loves to spend time with each other at home while enjoying each other’s company. They enjoy eating, watching movies, singing, traveling to new places, and trying new things. “Juan is a very talented singer,” Patricia tell us. “I prefer to dance and Pepito loves to run around our apartment, or lay down and look out the window.”

Currently, Juan and Patricia’s apartment is too small to fit their needs. They have a tiny kitchen that makes it difficult to cook in. “Quite often when we cook together, we bump each other and bounce off of each other like a couple of bouncy balls.” There is also not a lot of space for privacy. When Patricia was getting her Bachelors from USF, she found it difficult to find a space in their apartment to study. When Juan would get home from work and want to unwind in front of the TV, Patricia would have to study in her car or in her mother’s backyard because their bedroom would not block out any noise. The couple’s apartment also lacks a washer and dryer, so Patricia has to go to her mother’s house every weekend to do their laundry. Additionally, their apartment also has a very low water pressure. “Normally it can take each of us more than 15 minutes to adequately rinse off and it takes me about an hour to wash my hair,” says Patricia.

“The day that we came into Habitat and were told that we had been accepted into the program we could not believe it! We had been told the week before to come in and go over some documents so we came in with a notebook and some more documents if they needed to verify anything. We were NOT prepared to get such AWESOME NEWS! It was so unexpected we could not believe it. The entire time we were going over our manual and partnership agreement, all that I could think about at the time was “Wow! I cant believe this, thank you God for helping my little family, thank you for listening to my prayers.” We are STILL so excited! At moments when Juan and I are talking throughout our day we remind ourselves, we did it! We are going to get a house soon!”

In their new home, the couple expects their life to be more cheerful, happy, and relaxed. “My family now has a safe and stable home that will last us many, many years.” If you or someone you know is interested in applying for the Habitat homeownership program so that you can also have a safe and stable home, please check out our Apply Page for more information on how to get started.

Patricia and Juan offer this advice to anyone wo is considering applying for the program: “Apply. You will never know what could have been if you don’t try. Do not let other people, or ANYONE discourage you. It is a very hard and stressful process, but what is meant for you, will be for you. The Habitat team is there for you and with you, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. ”

“I am building because I want to help build more homes for many, many more families. We want to pay this blessing forward as much as we can.”

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