The Allen Family
On the cusp of history and a new life together
Paterson Habitat unites the Allen Family
A Determined Mother’s Quest
Felecia Allen had no intention of making history. She just wanted to make a better home and a better life for her family. But the Paterson Habitat home she’ll be moving into on North 4th Street in the city's 4th Ward is a historic milestone for our parent organization, Habitat for Humanity International. It is Habitat’s 500,001st home worldwide. The walls were raised Oct. 3rd as the 500,000th Habitat house was dedicated in Kenya, where tithes from Paterson Habitat have financed homes for 25 years.
Felecia’s duplex home on North 4th Street represents the first step towards Habitat for Humanity's goal of 1 million homes worldwide. For this working mother and her three children it's a giant step towards reuniting the family under a roof of their own.
Her 11 year old son Deon was born profoundly handicapped by cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound. Deon has been living with Felecia’s parents because her current apartment is too small to accommodate Deon and not handicapped accessible. The new house will more than meet Deon's needs and provide a safe and secure home for Felicia's other son Dewand, 16, and her 15-year-old daughter Dennecia.
“Deon is my strength and my comfort,” Felecia says of her handicapped son. “And I’m his.”
The Allen family has already started putting in the “sweat equity” labor required of every Habitat homeowner family. And like every Habitat homeowner, Felecia will be purchasing her home at below market price and financing it with a no-interest Habitat mortgage, all made possible by Paterson Habitat donors and construction volunteers.
Her desire to become a Habitat homeowner began with the birth of her baby Joseph last year. Tragically, he died at the age of nine months. Although devastated by the loss, Felecia pushed on with her plan in Joseph’s memory. This determined woman is now pursuing a college degree while working full-time. Felecia loves music and sings in her church choir. Dewand is a drummer and sings in the youth choir. Dennecia performs with a praise dancing group. Felecia has given her children encouragement to develop their talent, but until she came to Paterson Habitat last summer she never thought she could give them a new home.
“A house is something they can always fall back on,” Felecia said. “I want them to know something like this is possible.”
Helping families help themselves
Despite some major setbacks, Felicia Allen is an example of self-sufficiency in her efforts to provide a decent life for her family. But hard work and determination can only take you so far when you’re a low-income working mother. With Habitat’s help, though, it can take you to home ownership in North Jersey, which despite the housing bust is still one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.
- Paterson Habitat partners with families like the Allens to make it possible for them to buy simple, decent homes, built with the aid of Habitat construction volunteers and financed with zero-interest mortgages made possible by our donors.
- This is the kind of sustainable homeownership that stabilizes and helps rescue blighted urban neighborhoods and reinforces the economy of the whole region.
- With your continued support, Paterson Habitat will continue to help good families achieve good homes. We’ll do that by building homes with our Habitat families and building consensus with community residents, government, business and other non-profit groups as we seek solutions to the growing problem of affordable housing in New Jersey.
Your support can make a dramatic and discernible difference …
Support from friends like you even in the face of a challenging economy has enabled Paterson Habitat to help close to 240 low-income, working families make the big jump from poverty housing into decent, affordable homes of their own.
- New construction will always be at the heart of what we do, but the times demand an even wider focus.
- In partnership with community residents and other organizations, we are working to restore and preserve the overall quality of life in entire neighborhoods.
Because of past support from people like you, families will be sleeping tonight in decent homes of their own. But many more are still trapped in crowded, over-priced and/or substandard rental housing. These families need a helping hand.
Please consider making a financial contribution by donating ONLINE or mailing a check to: PO Box 2585, Paterson, NJ 07509