It was 2010. Regina had just come home from rehab and she didn’t have anything. No job, no car, no driver’s license, nowhere to live.
“I was staying in a recovery house at that time,” Regina said. “I was struggling to say the least.”
Regina walked into the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Murray Ave. She was just looking around, not really thinking about how Habitat might be able to help her.
“I picked up the pamphlet and looked at everything I needed to get a home,” she said. She knew she wasn’t ready yet.
“I got really discouraged thinking of all the things I needed to do to get this started,” Regina said. “I was looking at the big picture and it was overwhelming.”
Advice from a friend helped. She encouraged Regina to write down where she saw herself in five years and list 10 goals.
“At the top of my list was getting my kids back,” Regina said. Her children were staying with friends and other family members. She also had a “goal job,” to work at Frankishe. She had heard good things about it, she said.
“I took jobs wherever I could get one,” she said. “I worked as a dog bather and then I got a job at a convenience store.”
It took her four years, but Regina got that job at Frankische. She worked her way from operator to team leader. She has been employed there for two years now.
“I love my job and the company I work for,” Regina said.
But it was a long road.
At first, Regina moved in with her sister and her family. Two days later, Regina said, she got her two oldest children back, and they needed a place to stay. Her sister’s home wouldn’t hold all of them.
“So we stayed in the Sunshine House on D Street, which is a homeless shelter for women and children,” she said. From there, they went to a brown trailer on Finley Street.
“It was a drug-infested neighborhood and I hadn’t been clean long,” Regina recalled, “But someone told me to bloom where I was planted — so I did.”
Despite the neighborhood, Regina said that trailer was home sweet home for two years.
“When it rained, the window sills would fill up with water. When the wind blew the walls would billow, and it had no heat,” Regina said. “But it was home. I thanked God every night I laid down for that little trailer.”
They have moved around a lot in the last five years, she said, always to somewhere a little better than the place before.
“I have moved around a lot in my whole life, never feeling at home anywhere,” Regina said. “Now here I am five years later getting ready to build! My journey has been a long one. I couldn’t have made it without Jesus. He is my strength.”
Regina said she has learned a lot through the financial classes the Habitat program requires. She is putting money into her savings account each time she gets paid and she has learned the importance of saving money, she said.
Regina is still overwhelmed, “but in a very good way,” she said. “This whole story is a lot about God’s timing and faithfulness,” she said. “I’m reminded of all the beauty he has given me from the ashes.”
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I’m so excited. I thank everyone involved in this endeavor of making my dream of owning my own home a reality.”