After growing up in Panama, Milka moved to the United States when her daughter Hanna was just a baby. Adversity has not been a stranger to Milka, but her desire to provide Hanna with every opportunity for success has enabled her to continue finding a way forward. Due to the constantly increasing rent costs in Sarasota, Milka and her daughter have been forced to relocate every year for the last five years. She is grateful to know that this will be their last move for a very long time!
Milka works full time while also attending classes as she works towards a degree in Christian counseling. Milka has provided 348 volunteer hours toward her "sweat equity" requirement. We celebrated a home dedication for Milka and her daughter Hanna on June 9, 2016 and they moved in shortly after.
This home was made possible by funding provided by Publix Supermarkets Charities and Sutter Roofing Company.
Giving families a foundation, one home at a time
SARASOTA - Although she works full time, Milka, a 36-year-old single mother, lived with her brother and daughter in a tight, two-bedroom apartment. Rent was $1,000 excluding utilities. Space was sparse, and having friends over was rare for the teenager who did homework from her bed.
When she applied for a traditional bank mortgage, Milka qualified for no more than $80,000 – not enough to buy a Sarasota home where real estate prices often outpace wages.
But she did qualify for a Habitat for Humanity Sarasota home.
Habitat Sarasota brings volunteers, sponsors and corporate donors together to make home ownership a reality and to break the cycle of poverty by providing zero-interest mortgages to qualified families.
Families like hers.
Milka had consistent income, a proven need for space and the willingness to work – a signature of the Habitat mantra where hands-on giving is hands-on receiving.
Rather than programs that focus solely on children in need, the two-generation approach bridges financial gaps by engaging whole families, not just parents.
“When parents are financially strained, their children feel it too. Inadequate living conditions cause many children to struggle in school, which results in a perpetual cycle of poverty,” said Renee Snyder, executive director of Habitat Sarasota. And although working toward home ownership was no easy feat, Milka's daughter, Hanna, 14, thrust her hands in the dirt.
Every Saturday after the work week, her mom carved out four hours to work on the site of her future home. Single-parent family Habitat homeowners are required to volunteer a total of 300 hours toward on-site building – a feat considering Milka had seldom used a drill as a lifelong renter. And with home economics classes no longer a curriculum mainstay, Hanna skipped evening outings with friends to learn about how to maintain their future home.Read More