meet Sandra & Carlos

Sandra is proud to be an American Citizen. She's proud of her two-year old daughter Sophia. And now Sandra and her husband Carlos are proud to be on the verge of owning their own home ---a slice of the American dream that seemed way beyond their reach just a few years ago. 

The difference between then and now is Paterson Habitat for Humanity.  This spring Sandra and Carlos will be moving their family into a comfortable and safe home of their own that they have partnered with Paterson Habitat to build and buy. 

Their new home in Paterson's 1st Ward is one of almost 300 built or rehabbed by our construction volunteers. And Habitat homeowners have the benefits of an affordable purchase price and a zero-interest mortgage, both made possible by our donors. 

Like all new Habitat homeowners, Carlos and Sandra put in 400 hours of volunteer "sweat equity" labor.  But hard work is a way of life for them. Sandra's weekday job for an office maintenance firm begins at 3:30 a.m. and she does catering work at a country club on weekends. Carlos does valet parking for an auto dealership. Even her father, 74 years old, works part-time.

The apartment they are leaving has been home to Sandra since she joined her parents here 23 years ago after immigrating to Paterson form Colombia. She met and married Carlos on a trip back to Colombia and Sophia's birth was the catalyst for this extended family to escape their crowded apartment. 

For years they had put up with faulty plumbing the landlord refused to fix and more recently an invading squad of raccoons. Their new house will have a fenced in yard for Sophia to play in and they will be joining other Habitat homeowners who are helping to stabilize and upgrade their new neighborhood. 

“We’re thrilled. Before we learned about Habitat, I didn’t see how it would be possible to do this.”