Partner Family Profile: Jake Ross

“I consider myself a true New Orleanian, as I was born and raised in the city, the one I love,” Jake Ross said. Soon, he will own a part of the city he calls home. The foundation of his Habitat home is being laid this month.

Before Jake applied to be a homebuyer at Habitat, he had been skeptical about being able to receive a traditional home loan. A family friend told him to try applying to the affiliate’s First-Time Homebuyer (FTHB) program. Like many, he thought that his income would be too low or that his time being incarcerated would prevent him from being accepted, but he met the criteria for the Habitat program.

“It feels good. I’m going to be a homeowner,” he said, placing emphasis on “homeowner” to share its importance to him. “I always wanted to be a homeowner.”

Jake’s main goal is to provide a place for his five children, whom he calls his “pride and joy.”

“I can’t wait to see my kids’ faces when I let them know this is their house,” he said. “We own it. The backyard, everything is theirs.”

Though the pandemic shut down construction volunteers, partner families have been able to continue helping out at the ReStores so that the FTHB program can continue. Jake has diligently kept up with everything the program requires. His home was only partially delayed by the pandemic. Working as an overnight supervisor at a pressure cleaning company, where he has been employed for several years, he was able to keep working safely throughout the various phases of shutdown. His schedule allowed him to keep doing his sweat equity hours at the Kenner ReStore, where he has been helping for the last few months.

“I was lucky,” he said. “I had completed all the classes before the pandemic, so all I have to focus on is the volunteering.”

His home will be in New Orleans East, near over 100 other Habitat homes, part of a thriving community, many of whom are frontline workers during the pandemic. Jake and his children will live close to America Street and Hermes Street, two areas transformed with Habitat homes.

“One day, I will have a ‘HOUSE’ for all of us, and we will call it ‘HOME’,” he said. “Home is where my family is. Home is a safe place, a comfortable place. Home is where love is at.”