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By Catherine Tsai / Feb 15, 2017

Soon-to-Be Homeowners: “It Looks Like a House Now”

23472_HHPBP0217_1024x438_V1 When certified nursing assistants Francis and Schola first visited the Denver lot where their extended family’s future home would stand, there was nothing but dirt.

Today, a two-story, four-bedroom house – with siding, windows, doors, and a roof – is taking shape next to other Habitat for Humanity homes under construction on the same block, across from an elementary school.

“It looks different than before. And tomorrow, you will see, it’s going to look very different,” said Francis, who has spent more than 200 hours with Schola working on their home and other homes with Habitat for Humanity and volunteers from Transamerica. “Every day there’s a big change.”

“It’s very good so far. Very good,” Francis said with a smile. “It looks like a house now.”

One step on the journey to stability

The couple’s work toward becoming Denver homeowners started years ago when they left Africa in 2013 in hopes of a more stable future. Schola (pronounced SKO-la) was a general doctor and Francis was a doctor specializing in internal medicine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They moved to North Carolina to escape political corruption and are now legal U.S. permanent residents.

Today, they and their young daughter and newborn son live in a two-bedroom Denver apartment with Schola’s mother and Francis’ cousin as they wait to move in to their new house. While they miss the people and places where they grew up, Francis called Denver “the best place” because of its friendly people and nice weather, though he is still getting used to seeing snow.

Buying the home they are building with Habitat for Humanity will be one more step on their journey to a better life, Francis said.

The first house their kids will remember

The couple said they are happy their children will remember growing up in a home with room to play, rather than their cramped apartment.

“Here, there’s going to be a big backyard, so they can run and do whatever they want,” said Schola. “So we are so excited for that.”

Through Habitat for Humanity, Francis and Schola will buy the home with an interest-free mortgage. That will allow the couple to save more money to send their children to college one day, Schola said.

“I’m so excited because everything will be brand new,” she said.

Transamerica is committed to supporting the Habitat for Humanity program as it helps families across the United States build strength, stability, and self-reliance. In the past year, Transamerica employee volunteers have worked to help families build affordable housing in:

  • St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Los Angeles, California.
  • Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Plano, Texas.
  • Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Memphis, Tennessee.

The home that Francis and Schola are building is the first full-house build Transamerica has sponsored from start to finish in Denver.

Learn how you can volunteer on a Habitat for Humanity build in your community.

Related articles:

Transamerica Sponsors Its First Habitat for Humanity Full-Home Build

Habitat for Humanity: ‘More Than Just a Roof’