Zadar says she spent six fruitless years on the waiting list for Section 8, the government-funded housing program, before applying to Habitat. She didn’t hear from the organization for another two years. “The day that I got the call, I was so ecstatic,” she remembers. “I felt like I won the lottery.”

Meanwhile, things at home just kept deteriorating. “The roaches are a huge issue at the moment,” she explains. “They are all over the place. You can’t set a bag or anything down, because they’re everywhere. When we move into our Habitat home, I’m not going to be able to bring anything with me.” Management, she says, came in and “over-sprayed,” which left one of the twins hacking and coughing with asthmatic fits.

Last year, the breaker box in the downstairs hallway exploded with no warning. “I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, and the next thing you know the door flies open – pop! – and smoke is pouring out. I get all the kids outside, and soon there are six fire trucks lined up, up and down my street. Everybody’s outside and it’s a big fiasco. We had to spend five days away from the apartment.”

Jade Zadar has completed nearly 300 of the “sweat equity hours,” putting in time at other home sites, required by her Habitat contract. She intends to be actively involved, too, in the construction of her own house.

“This,” she says, “is the moment I’ve probably been waiting for my entire life. Because as a child, I grew up with not a lot of stability. We moved from apartment to apartment to apartment. It was very anxiety-ridden for me. I had a lot of stress.

“I’m trying to pave the way for the rest of my kids’ lives, and their kids’ lives. So it feels like a major accomplishment for me, and for them. I do it for my children.”


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