Bryan residents Jose and Erika are expecting their third child in June 2019. Their new baby boy will join sisters, Liselle, 8, and Lylah, 3.

The couple currently spend $450 a month for a subsidized, two-bedroom apartment in Bryan. The space is affordable, but it will be too small when the new baby arrives, and it isn’t the best place for the couple to raise their children. Mold resulting from water leaks is a constant problem, and petty crimes in the neighborhood — someone once set the nearby playground on fire — keep the parents from letting their daughters play outside.

But like so many families struggling to make ends meet, the options for larger, better housing were extremely limited.

“Moving to another apartment would be three times more just in rent, and we wouldn’t be able to afford something so high,” the couple wrote in their application letter.

Fortunately, the couple had heard about Habitat through Jose’s mother. During the application process, they took each step as it came and prayed for a positive outcome. When they learned of  their acceptance into the program, they were “speechless!”

Now he and Erika are attending the required education classes, and both agree that the financial classes have been helpful in preparing them for homeownership. Jose, who works full-time for a local insulation company, is grateful his income will go toward a home that the couple can pass on to their children.

To all the donors and volunteers who will help them build a home, they offer their deep thanks, and they encourage anyone considering a financial donation to give.

“Families don’t have a lot of different places they can turn to,” said Erika. “Without a program like Habitat, we would never have gotten a loan.”

As they continue their classes and earn more sweat-equity hours, Jose and Erika say that their family keeps them motivated.

“When you look at your kids, you want to give them the world,” Erika said.

Yet it’s the simple joys of homeownership that fill the couple’s thoughts: A swing-set for the kids, a place to grow plants and waking up on a weekend morning to cut the grass.