Lakeisha Benford tries not to overwhelm herself and has learned to take life day by day. That’s what a single mother of five has to do when she works five to six days a week at a local restaurant. Her shift starts at 6 a.m. If she or one of her children gets sick, it has to be really bad before she misses work because she receives no paid time off for illness. Her employer doesn’t provide health insurance, and she can’t afford it on her own.
The family currently lives in a three-bedroom mobile home that rents for $750 a month. Lakeisha’s eldest child, her only daughter, sleeps in one of the bedrooms. Her two middle sons, ages 3 and 10, share the second bedroom. Lakeisha and her youngest children — twin sons — share the third bedroom.
Despite such difficulties, Lakeisha shows remarkable strength and perseverance.
“It gets kinda hard, but I do what I have to do,” she said. “I keep praying, and I keep going.”
Lakeisha is determined to give her children a better a home. She began cleaning up her credit before applying to become a Habitat homeowner. Still, she didn’t think it would be enough to qualify. When she was accepted into the program in December 2017, she couldn’t quite believe it.
“I was shocked,” she said. “The kids were jumping up and down. I was stunned and at a loss for words.”
Reality set in quickly when Lakeisha began tackling her sweat-equity hours. It has been difficult, but she is making steady progress and learning as she goes. She completed the homebuyer education curriculum in May. She liked the budgeting class because it helped her find out where she was spending the most money. Lakeisha says that the Habitat program has taught her that she can take on the responsibility of homeownership.
It is also difficult for Lakeisha to find the words to express her deep gratitude to the donors and volunteers who will help finance and build her home.
“I never thought I’d own a home,” she said while fighting back tears. “If anything happens to me, my babies will have someplace to live.”
Lakiesha Benford’s home is sponsored by local businesses who have pooled together to fund the construction costs. Lakiesha and these local businesses will be working side by side to build the house, from raising the walls to landscaping the yard. Thank you to these businesses for their commitment to affordable housing for everyone in our community!