16 May Best Ride Ever
“It was a roller coaster, but the best ride ever,” was how new homebuyer Ashley Conner described her experience becoming a home owner. Owning her own home had always been a dream of Ashley’s, but one that she didn’t think would ever come to fruition considering the continuously rising prices of homes on Kaua’i. She had heard about Kaua’i Habitat for Humanity, but the process of qualifying and building her own home seemed daunting. A longtime volunteer of Kaua’i Habitat happened to be a regular customer at the restaurant she works, and continuously suggested that she just go in and find out. Finally, her sister heard of an informational meeting being held at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and she decided she had nothing to lose.
“It wasn’t easy, and I wasn’t prepared,” stated Ashley, “I didn’t have anything ready. Except that I had a good work history and had been at my job for a long time. I didn’t have any credit built up and wasn’t sure how to raise my rating, but the ladies in Family Services held my hand and guided me through the process. I’d hit road blocks where I didn’t think I would qualify and I’d be sad and then they would call and give me advice and finally after 3 ½ years here I am.”
According to Ashley there are tremendous benefits to building your own home, aside from the obvious stability for herself and her two kids. “For one thing you learn a lot. Now I know how to do stuff. If this railing rots I know how to repair it, if I want to enlarge my lanai I know how to do that too.”
Ashley had been renting for the several years, but the owner of the home she was renting sold it, leaving her limited options. She had to move into a small place with family where there is very limited space and absolutely no privacy. Her kids are just as excited as she is. They are looking forward to having their own rooms and even doing household chores. They ask to drive by and see the progress every week. Coincidentally, her oldest is 12 years old, the same age she was when she moved to ‘Ele’ele.
“I just want to cry, it’s such an amazing program!”