When her father fell ill Shemeka Jenkins was quick to assist her mother, Mary with his care. With the strain of working 12 hour shifts and commuting between the two houses, Shemeka decided to move her and her children –ages 13 and 16 at the time- into the three bedroom home her parents were renting. When her father passed away Shemeka decided to stay on and support her mother. However, the property was in need of significant repairs and was too small for the family to live in comfortably.
When Shemeka learned about the Habitat homeownership program, she saw it as a chance to provide better care for her son Kevante and daughter Shevante, as well as her mother. The two filled out the application together and were approved for a joint partnership in November of 2014, bringing Shemeka one step closer to a dream that she had previously thought impossible to achieve.
A life-long fast learner, Shemeka was quick to start her sweat equity hours and homeownership training classes. “I managed all of this by myself,” she says, “I’m proud that I haven’t given up. I saw that I was strong and could handle this.”
Shemeka especially enjoyed her experience in the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course and learned to pay attention to spending habits and prepare for the future. “Everything [Habitat] sent us to, it was absolutely helpful. I didn’t know the first thing about home maintenance and my life is so busy I’ve never had the chance to think about it.” Additionally, Shemeka has now opened a college savings account and, with the budgeting skills she’s learned, can help send her children to college.
Soon Shemeka and her mother will purchase the home from Habitat via a 20-30 year, 0% interest mortgage. The family is excited to move to a safer neighborhood and her children are looking forward to moving to new schools. But more than that, Shemeka feels that her perseverance and drive will finally pay off.
“When you bless someone, you get blessings back,” she says, “I’ve been working in the healthcare industry and always taking care of other people or taking care of my mom. I feel like now my blessings are coming back to me.”
Renovations of the Jenkins home were completed in February 2017.