Being the first to do something is never easy.  For Tammy, Nevada County Habitat for Humanity’s first homeowner, being first was scary, exciting and a dream come true. “I hadn’t really heard of Habitat at the time (1997). My father, who lives in Florida, read The Union every day and saw that Habitat was seeking qualified people to become homeowners. He encouraged me to apply.”

A single mom with two kids (Korey was 8, daughter Keri, 4, at the time), they lived in a tiny apartment that had mold issues – which exacerbated Keri’s asthma. Habitat was an ideal solution – and something she never would have anticipated happening to her. She moved into her new Penn Valley home in March, 1998 (as a renter) and was “handed the Keys” as a homeowner in July 1999. From the moment they moved into their new home, Keri didn’t have another asthma attack.

“It was amazing to get something going that was good for our county,” Tammy says. “I have no idea where I’d be now. Looking back I don’t know how I did it, living month-to-month. I don’t know how families like mine do it today.”

A hard worker (she’s been at K-Mart for 21 years), Tammy values stability. Her Habitat home provided a firm foundation for raising her two children. “Our home has had a huge impact. Just having the stability and security of a home has given me a deep peace of mind.”

Korey, who is now 34, graduated with honors from Silver Springs High School in Grass Valley, then went on to achieve a certification from an automotive trade school. He now works in construction in Idaho. Keri, now 30, graduated from high school and went on to earn an Associate of Arts degree in Applied Science.  Both now have children of their own.

“It’s comforting to know that my children always have a place to come home to,” Tammy said. “Having this home provided the opportunity to do more things with my kids (and now her grandchildren). The paycheck stretches further. I’m more at ease. When I go home at night, I’m going home!”

Tammy will have her affordable mortgage paid off in six years.


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