In 1998 Kimberly Swift’s life was turned upside down. She went through a divorce that left her with nothing. She and her two young children were forced to move into her sister’s home, which quickly became overcrowded as seven people lived in a three bedroom, one-bathroom home. Despite working full-time, Kimberly had little hope of ever owning her own home, until she found out about Habitat for Humanity. Kimberly applied to the program in 1999 and met the financial criteria to qualify for the program, and within a year, moved into her new home.
Kimberly, like all Habitat partner families, had to work 350 hours, putting sweat equity into the home. She worked eight to ten hours every Saturday from May 1999 until she moved into her house on Leap Day (February 29), 2000. Kimberly’s house was the first house that Habitat Oakland County built in the new millennial and inspired many donors and community members to give back. Many generous Habitat Oakland donors were involved in helping Kimberly furnish her house. Art Van generously donated her bedroom set, an anonymous donor donated furniture for her children’s rooms, living room, and dining room. The local school system provided her washer and dryer. Another Habitat Oakland sponsor threw her a surprise housewarming party and furnished her house with a television, dishes, a stocked refrigerator, even provided laundry soap! It was a heartwarming demonstration of community coming together to help a fellow neighbor.
Kimberly and her family have been in their house for eighteen years. She considers her neighbors to be her family. Her children went from sleeping together in a shared room to each of them having a room of their own. A safe and comfortable place to sleep at night, to study in, to decorate with their own style, to find security. Today, Kimberly’s son is employed at Ford Motor Company and is studying to become a journeyman electrician. Kimberly’s daughter is a senior at Michigan State University and is studying journalism and business management with a minor in social work. Her family’s success is due in part to having a home of their own. Kimberly worked tirelessly to make her dream of homeownership a reality. She is a first time homeowner who has changed the trajectory for herself and her family; we are delighted for Kimberly and excited for what is yet to come.