Cole Family

Three years ago, I came to New Orleans from Atlanta, Georgia with my one-year-old daughter for a fresh start.  I used to visit New Orleans all the time growing up, and had even done a stint at Xavier University in the Super Scholar EXCEL program, while in high school. I knew New Orleans should be the next stop for me, closer to loved ones and a culturally-rich environment to raise my daughter in.

Arriving bright-eyed and optimistic, I struggled to secure gainful employment, as my daughter and I crashed with a family friend. We were searching for a place of our own, and that’s when we learned that the cost of living here was insane! Rent was steep, with minimal “bang for our buck,” and the prices of homes had become astronomical.

Several months later, I found an apartment for us to rent. I was very thankful that I was not only able to afford it, but that it was a quaint space to call home for my family. As grateful as I was, I knew that that situation was only temporary.  One cannot truly be at home with no jurisdiction over the space one pays for.  I longed for something as simple as being able to paint my daughter’s room.  I was thankful, but I accepted the fact that it  wasn’t really “home.”  I needed to work harder- work smarter-to continue to move toward the biggest purchase of my life, buying a home.

In my younger years, I was quite careless, with some of my financial choices.  I had to work my way back up into a much better credit standing.  While working on that, I was still fighting to climb higher on the socioeconomic pole. Fast forward to the present, I have grown in my career path, currently serving as an Executive Assistant, while striving for more.  Even with all my professional successes, I have faced difficulty obtaining a conventional home loan.

In 2015, both of my parents were shockingly diagnosed with cancer. My mother was diagnosed first, and a few months later, my father. They are resilient and have taught me, amongst a host of other things, to always strive to persevere in the face of adversity.  Continue to work hard, learn, live and love, and so long as you have God on your side, all of your blessings will continue to flow.

I treasure my family. I value my words. And I did just what they always told me to do. Even if I  was unable to get a loan, there are always multiple avenues for success. I tried a few other things to no avail.  One day, it just hit me . While in high school I did some work for  Habitat for Humanity.  I wondered, “what must one has to do to purchase a house with them?” Ignorant to the process, I researched a little online, attended a presentation meeting, and began with the intake process. Now, I am both humbled and proud to announce that with the aid of the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, I am able to fulfill one of my biggest dreams- creating a home for my family. Thank you to all the hard working people at NOAHH, the sponsors, volunteers, and my family and friends who assisted in turning my dream into a reality.  I cannot wait to host my first barbecue! The best is yet to come!

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