Habitat for Humanity has been a part of Ranika’s life since she was a young girl. She and her sisters grew up in a Habitat house when she and her sisters went to live with her aunt. Ranika, who works second shift at Shands in Sterile Processing, knows how important having a safe and affordable home is, and she thrilled to be building a Habitat house of her own.
When she initially applied to Alachua Habitat’s homeownership program, Ranika and her three daughters were living in a run-down mobile home with a board covering a hole in her bedroom floor. The board couldn’t be nailed down because when the water heater shut off she would have to move the board and reach under the floor to reset the switch. In addition to basic maintenance issues, the mobile home was located in an area she felt was unsafe for her family. During the application and eligibility process for the homeownership program, Ranika was able to move her family into a better neighborhood, but could only afford a 2 bedroom home. Her eldest daughter Kayla often stays at her grandmother’s home to have some space for herself. Kaleah and Sade are sharing a bunk bed in a tiny room that is too small for them.
Ranika knows that owning a home will be a big adjustment - they will all have to learn to take care of everything in the new home, and setting aside money for future repairs is a goal she has set for herself. She has learned all about long-term home maintenance in the Habitat homeowner workshops that are a required part of the homeownership program.
“I want to see my girls happy,” Ranika said. She feels her new Habitat home, with personal space for each of them, will help her girls continue to foster their love of dance and art and be “a big relief for me.”
Hammock Oaks is a small neighborhood in southeast Gainesville nestled next to the County's Cynthia Moore Chestnut Park and Clark Butler Nature Preserve. The Board of County Commissioners of Alachua County donated 11 lots in the Hammock Oak neighborhood to Alachua Habitat for Humanity, and Ranika's house is one of three that we will start building in early 2019. Three Habitat homeowners have already moved into their new homes in the summer of 2018, and we plan to build on the remaining 5 lots in phases, creating a close-knit community where neighbors build relationships while building their houses.
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