Home Away From Home

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Overcoming challenges and moving forward to great opportunities are concepts the Lopez family know well. Sixteen years ago the Lopez family moved from Puebla, Mexico to Boulder, Colorado in hopes of pursuing the iconic American dream. Through death, income disparities, and challenges with renting, the Lopez family kept pushing through until they ended up with the outcome they had always dreamed of.

Maria Lopez is the matriarch of the family and strives to give her two teenagers the best. After her husband died, however, taking care of her children by herself while also trying to pay rent became difficult. Paying money for rent every month made it difficult for the Lopez family to spend money on other things such as education.

It was important for Maria to own her own home, so she could feel like she had a “home away from home” after leaving Puebla and so she did not have to worry about paying rent every month. After living in Boulder for a while, one of Maria’s friends told her about Habitat Humanity and all of the services they offer to families looking for a better life.

Maria applied to the Habitat for Humanity program, took classes and eventually talked to someone about the Personal Investment Enterprise (PIE) program offered by Foothills United Way and Boulder County Community Action Programs in order to help purchase a home.

The PIE program offers money management training and a homeownership course. This helps those looking to own a home save for a down payment. Participants can earn a four to one match to savings. For example, participants would receive $132 for every $33 saved.

In pursuit of owning her own home, Maria applied for residency just so she could apply for a chance to live in a new home and to further establish her American dream. She got residency in America and started attending PIE classes to learn how to save for her home.

“The PIE program helped me a lot,” Maria said. “It helped me with down payments and also helped me save for furniture for my new home.”

 “The best part of owning my own home,” Maria said, “is to say this is mine. I am in a country different than my own, but I now have a place to call my own. I have the American dream.”

Now Maria can start saving money for her son to attend college and maybe one day for her to attend nursing school. “I would like to learn more English, get my citizenship here and perhaps become a nurse to take care of the elderly,” Maria said. Owning her own home and saving money thanks to the PIE program has made Maria feel like she and her family can accomplish anything.