Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana recognized Rebecca Jackson-Sanchez of Hammond and her family, hosting a mortgage burning ceremony Sunday. Paying off a home mortgage is the final step of a partner family-affiliate agreement, and the Jackson-Sanchez family is the second partner family of the Habitat affiliate to have done so. Their home in the 58-hundred block of Erie Avenue is in a row of Habitat homes. Jackson-Sanchez says she was driving when she first heard about Habitat for Humanity, heard a commercial on the radio and applied. She didn't meet the requirements at first, then a year later, she got a call telling her she had qualified.
For information on becoming a Habitat partner-family, volunteer or donor, the Northwest Indiana affiliate can be reached at 219.923.7265 .
Rebecca Jackson-Sanchez, of Hammond, Ind., kept a promise she made over twenty years ago. Sunday, February 24th, that promise paid itself off in full.
“It’s like the end of a time where I was in need of help, and now it’s the beginning of great accomplishments in my life,” said Jackson-Sanchez.
Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana recognized Rebecca Jackson-Sanchez and her family by hosting an inaugural mortgage burning ceremony. Paying off a home mortgage is the final step of a partner family-affiliate agreement. The Jackson-Sanchez family is the second partner family of the Habitat affiliate to have done so.
The Jackson-Sanchez residence on Erie Avenue is located in a row of Habitat homes. Habitat builds simple, decent homes for qualifiable, low-income families.
On that bright, Sunday afternoon, Jackson-Sanchez welcomed Habitat affiliate members from present and past. The sky was clear and blue, the sun bright and warm. Board and staff members stood gathered on the Jackson-Sanchez front lawn, celebrating with ‘Becky’ as she placed copies of the mortgage into the flames. Those that were there during her humbling beginnings, recollected with her, sharing laughter and tears.
“I was driving when I first heard about Habitat for Humanity. At the time, I was living in a home with a leaky ceiling and really bad conditions. I heard a commercial on the radio and thought, what the heck and applied for a home. They turned me down because, at the time, I wasn’t able to meet the requirements. A year later, I received a call telling me I had qualified. God truly blessed me with this. I felt like giving up, but then God brought Habitat in my life,” said Jackson-Sanchez.
Jackson-Sanchez failed to meet initial application criteria based on income. Once she was able to establish consistent work, her application was reconsidered. Among those in attendance, Rosanna Fowler and Carl Strain, were the first to help make homeownership possible for ‘Becky ‘and her four children. Fowler made the initial home visit to the Jackson-Sanchez residence, and Strain was the construction supervisor of her home.
“She had a ceiling caving in and an exposed heating unit emitting flames. The environment was too dangerous with little children running around,” said Fowler.
“I was there from the beginning,” said Strain. “I’m so proud of ‘Becky’,” he added.
Once applications are reviewed, Habitat affiliate personnel visit the families in an effort to establish the partner-family relationship. Decisions are made based on partner-family need and application criterion.
“I raised four great kids in that house. One daughter is now in beauty school. To have paid off this home means I’ve done something tremendous for myself and my kids.”
‘Becky’ remembered what it was like working with Habitat and the last days of her mortgage payment.
“I felt like they never handed me anything. It was side by side all the way. Every wall I painted and every imperfection I made in that home are mine. Those windows I helped put in are mine. That siding I helped put up is mine. When I was close to paying off my mortgage, I looked at my mom and thought that’s it? That’s all I owe? My mom told me to gather up all the money I have and pay if off. I did it and it’s my home now.”
Each new Habitat partner family is required to fulfill 300 ‘sweat equity hours’ as part of their mortgage agreement. These hours are spent helping with the building process of the home and by volunteering in the affiliate ReStore.
As she stood behind the table watching the flames turn to ash, ‘Becky’ placed her hands on her face as the tears began streaming. Cheers and applause poured out from the affiliate members while smoke filled the air. The Jackson-Sanchez family has a home they can officially call their own.
“Becky and her family are a prime example of Habitats mission. If you stick with a goal, it will lead to better quality of life for your family,” said Executive Director, Daniel Klein. “Today’s ceremony is proof that Habitats mission and business model work for families in need. It shows that we can carry out the process of this mission,” added Klein.
For information on becoming a Habitat partner-family, volunteer or donor, the Northwest Indiana affiliate can be reached at 219.923.7265