By: Amanda Garren
Many people dream of the day that they will become homeowners. For Nikki Griffin, that dream will soon be a reality. “I can’t believe this is going to be mine. It’s surreal,” she said. She lives with her little family of two boys (aged 8 and 9) and a daughter (3).
Nikki’s previous living arrangement was never up to code; it was falling apart, and the landlord was unable to fulfill her numerous repair requests. Her children didn’t even have a yard where they could play. However, she couldn’t afford to move anywhere else. Her aunt mentioned an opportunity for homeownership, and told her how she could apply for an affordable home through Shoals Habitat for Humanity.
She collected all of the information necessary for the application process and applied, but she was denied. Her bills were exceeding her paycheck, so she was still unable to afford a home, even through Habitat for Humanity. However, she didn’t let this stop her from achieving her dream.
Nikki worked tirelessly to continue providing for her family while progressively paying down her bills. She earned a raise at her job, and once her income was more stable, she applied for a Habitat house again. She was approved. “I kept at it, and it paid off,” she said. Then, she began working towards earning her home.
Nikki worked many hours for Shoals Habitat in the ReStore – a non-profit discount store offering building materials and homegoods, with all proceeds towards the local Habitat for Humanity. She also helped in the construction of another family’s home to fulfill the requirements for Shoals Habitat to begin building her home. She said she loved helping another family achieve their dreams and being able to give back to the community. “It’s life changing,” she said. “It’s not just me helping myself.” She also said she is just a few short work hours from completing the requirements to begin construction of her own family’s home.
Nikki mentioned that her son has always wanted to mark his height on a wall as he grew up, and soon they’ll be able to preserve those marks in their own house. “My kids will know where most of their memories were formed,” she said. She was proud to know that her kids were going to have somewhere safe to come home to every day. It is evident just how much she loves her three children and wants nothing but the best for them.
“I try to be the best parent I can, and I tell my kids even if there’s something you think you can’t do, try anyway,” she said. “You have to go for it.” She said she hopes her children see that she worked hard and did whatever she needed to do so she could ensure things were going to be all right.
When speaking about Shoals Habitat for Humanity, Nikki has nothing but praise. “I wish more people knew about it. It’s a great program.” She said she is nervous but excited to finally earn her home, and has taken homeowner classes in preparation for this new chapter in her life.
In the face of all of her obstacles, she’s proud of how far she’s come. “It’s not about how bad it is,” she said. “It’s about how you fight to make it better.”