Most Habitat homeowners display a tremendous amount of determination to reach their goals in life, despite the obstacles and curveballs they encounter along the way. Not only does Rosa Mondoa, the recipient of our 2017 Newcastle home, fit into that category, but another homeowner from a previous Habitat community and also a member of the BelPres community does as well. Rosa and Kathy Weatherbee were both raising their families as the head of their households when they applied to Habitat, Rosa in 2015 and Kathy in 1999. These two women have led differing lives and yet both embody the spirit of the Habitat homeowner.
Rosa came to the states in 2001 from Sudan as a refugee. Kathy has lived in the Seattle-King County area for over 30 years after relocating from Idaho. Rosa was encouraged to rebuild her life in the states, with two of her three children, by a local Tukwila church she still attends. Although she first applied in 2001 and did not qualify, she came back in 2015 and was eligible to take the next steps to achieve ownership of a home for her family. Kathy applied to Habitat in 1999 after working for three years to meet the requirements for a Habitat home. In 2002, she moved into a home that she would come to own and then pass on to another family working towards stability.
In 2016, Kathy decided to sell her home back to Habitat and move on to the next phase of her life, which opened up the door for Rosa to close on a home for herself and her three daughters. The Bellevue home locations are a commodity, mostly out of the reach of the population Habitat seeks to serve. For Kathy, an assistant teacher at a pre-school, getting her Habitat home meant she was able to keep her two children in the schools they had grown accustomed too and, in particular, afford her son the unique experience of attending Bellevue’s International School. For Rosa, this home will strengthen her children’s access to neighborhood resources and safety. It will remove the dangers and temptations her family faced in their old neighborhood, particularly the drug activity that drove her eldest son out of her household and into a rehab program.
The Bellevue Habitat home is a manifestation of the independence both women have worked towards for years. Kathy was able to move out of a house that belonged to her former in-laws, a home she continued to live in for three years after she finalized the divorce from her ex-husband. She has been able to keep giving back to her community through her career in education and her work at her church. Rosa will be able to continue solely supporting her children; while her eldest son now supports himself as an electrician in Seattle, her eldest daughter is attending college for engineering, and her youngest daughter is still in elementary school.
Both women have put in a substantial amount of sweat equity hours in partnership with Habitat, to gain something that will help them support their families in attaining their dreams and creating sustainable lives for themselves. While Kathy has never met Rosa, her determination and the work she has put into her life has afforded Rosa the same opportunities to achieve her goals. Habitat is especially proud to help facilitate the cycle of accomplishment that stable, affordable housing can establish.