“David” is a Habitat for Humanity Home Repair Program participant. His participation began in December 2019. This is his story:

When the rain really started to come down during Hurricane María, David and his family decided that it would be safer for them to go down to their basement, knowing that the roof would not hold. “In a house at the top of a hill in Salinas, we didn’t know if the mountains would protect us from the hurricane winds. My family and I prepared as best we could, but the hurricane brought problems that we could not control. Hurricane María’s winds were so strong that when my sister and I went to charge our phones in the car, the car moved from side to side like it was floating.” It was a long, distressing night knowing that, just above them, their house would be destroyed.

The following day, they were able to assess the damages: “Most of my roof was on the ground, the windows had disappeared, and there was debris everywhere. The water that came into the house caused even more problems, leaking though where the electrical wiring is located. Everything in the bedrooms, the kitchen, and the living room got wet and was ruined. When we came up from the basement, we could not believe that we had lost everything.”

With the money FEMA gave them, they were able to get the basics, such as beds, mattresses, food, and some of the windows, but it was not enough to even begin to repair the roof. They tried to fix as much as they could by hiring a company to fix the roof, but it was much more expensive than what their budget allowed. According to David, finding someone who could restore the corrugated zinc roof was an absolute nightmare, nobody was willing to go up to their home on the hill. 

One day, almost a year later, a friend of David’s told him about Habitat for Humanity. “This organization helped us restore our home and to finally put a roof up.” The home was inspected by a gentleman who helped us throughout the entire process.” David felt greatly relieved knowing that his house would finally be fixed and restored. In this process, David felt relieved and well-informed. The process got delayed due to the pandemic, and just when he thought that they had forgotten about him, a call changed everything.

“They showed up at my house with a desire to help us out and I will be forever grateful to them for that. They fixed the roof, installed the tin, fixed our doors, walls, and even other windows. My house is as good as new and in better shape than I could have imagined. We are extremely grateful for the service since, at my age, it is hard for me to rebuild my home. Now we can focus on what matters, on creating new memories with our family.”

What would you say was the most significant thing about that experience or what changed in your life?
This story changed our lives because, in the end, we felt that somebody was truly able to help us. Living so far away, not many people could help us with our roof. We are extremely grateful to have a roof and for all that they fixed for us, because we really had no way to do it ourselves. We don’t have a lot of money and not many people are willing to help, but Habitat did help us a lot. Now my grandchildren can run through the house without falling or without the sun hitting them too harshly. The biggest impact was how kind they were and how fast they worked.

Why did you choose this change story? What difference did it make? How would you summarize its importance and impact?
It has made us feel safe in our home and not have to worry about rain ever again.

How, if at all, has Habitat contributed to this change?
Habitat changed everything for us. Our house and our home. The peace we feel knowing that, no matter what happens, our home is safe, is a blessing. I recommend anyone who is suffering a home-related tragedy to contact them, because they were wonderfully helpful to us. Thank you for your service.

Please rate whether you disagree or agree with the following statements.
Questions Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree
There is a clear “before” and “after”.
The change will be felt for decades.
The change transforms the life/lives of those that experience it.
The change affects many people.
The change evokes empathy.
What is your overall impression of the story? Please assign it an overall score from 0 to 100.
Please note your comments on the story, including your scoring rationale. You will be asked to share your comments (orally) during the Selection Meeting.