Independence is important for Victoria, and her Habitat home is a key part of achieving it.

After 10 years of marriage, Victoria went through a difficult divorce. Moving and paying a lawyer exhausted her savings. She was barely getting by. High rent and student loan payments made it impossible to save, and without any family nearby, it was difficult to ask for help. She was on her own.

 Victoria was angry but she also feels better.

 “I feel more independent, which is freeing,” she said. “But it gets lonely sometimes — that’s the hard part. I have to keep busy, but it still gets to me some days.”

 Victoria thought about moving back to Indiana and her family, but she’s doing OK here. She has her cats, 10-year-old Mittens and Mystic, and she’s building a support group.

 “I like my job, I like my company,” Victoria said of her work as a quality inspector at Southern Weaving. “And of course my church and all my friends are here, so moving home would be like losing everything. I’ve already lost enough.

 “This is my home — it’s where I am supposed to be, I guess.”

 After finding out about Habitat from one of her church friends, Victoria quickly applied and anxiously waited to hear if she would be approved. It all worked out in perfect timing when Victoria received her letter of approval. Her sister and her aunt were in town from Indiana and were able to celebrate the exciting news with her.

 Victoria said she has enjoyed the whole experience. She has gotten to know different homeowners and volunteers and has been able to build even more friendships. Even her ex’s aunt and uncle are helping her with sweat-equity hours. She also has learned some new skills that she is excited to build upon.

 “Just having something for my own — I’m really proud of that, and getting to work on my house and others’ makes it more special,” Victoria said.

 Owning a Habitat home — with an affordable, interest-free mortgage — means Victoria will be able to pay off her debt and begin saving again. She is looking forward to having room for her family to stay with her when they come to visit. She also will have extra money to go visit her family, especially her nieces who she has not seen in over a year.

 “It’s been a good, exciting experience,” Victoria said. “It is something I would recommend to people who are in need. Apply. You never know; it doesn’t hurt to try.”