Keeping hard-working families together.
Farina Salim-Jones’ life was going as planned. She had a husband, two daughters, a decent job and a home in Orange, which she bought in 2007. Home ownership didn’t come easy. It was built over years of hard work. Farina worked two jobs in a Madison nursing home and her husband had a one-man contracting business.
Heather Seelinger’s life was also going as planned. She and her contractor husband owned a home in Randolph, where they lived with three sons. As an adult, Heather returned to college, got an associate’s degree, and is now the guidance department secretary at a high school.
Sometimes in life, plans go off the track.
In less than a year, Farina’s life unraveled. The nursing home cut costs and let her go; her husband died of kidney disease; and there she was with no job, a mortgage to pay and a house to maintain. She found a job in a hospital film library but lost her house through foreclosure.
Heather’s life changed after divorce from a husband to whom she had to pay child support. She had to find additional part-time work and find an affordable rental near both of her Morris County jobs.
For these mothers, it’s more than a home.
When Farina tells her story, her eyes always tear at the word “foreclosure.” Her Orange home had four bedrooms and was beautifully furnished, but when the bank foreclosed after just a few months of her struggles, “I ended up giving almost everything away,” she said. She remains hurt and confused about the quick foreclosure, but “I didn’t have anybody there to fight for me or show me the way.”
Heather, likewise, remains shaken by what she described as “being taken down financially in every way, shape and form,” by her divorce.
Getting their lives back on track.
Both women’s families will be among the twelve that will make the new condominium complex in Succasunna their homes. The opportunity that Morris Habitat for Humanity presented to them goes deeper than homeownership. It has restored their self-esteem and their belief in the generosity and caring of people. It has helped them recover from the terrible blindsides that hit so many people in life.
“I’ve worked since I was fifteen,” Heather said. “I had excellent credit, paid my bills on time and never took a hand-out in my life. I was determined not to be a victim of my circumstances. Morris Habitat understood my situation and helped me take the ‘victim’ out of it.”
Farina concurs with that idea. Like Heather, she will put in 300 hours of sweat equity at the Morris Habitat ReStore and working on her new home. “This program is wonderful for people who want to work hard and who have a dream – and those dreams do come true,” Farina said. “Morris Habitat has kept my family together and has given me peace of mind.”
Your Gift Makes a Difference
Heather and Farina represent just two of the many families in Morris County impacted by unforeseen circumstances or economic downturns. This year – with your help – we will have twenty-four more homes under construction for families just like theirs. Please give generously.
It’s more than a home. Your generous gift will
- Help families build brighter futures
- Build a foundation to achieve strength, stability, self-reliance, and safety
- End the cycle of poverty forever