Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County has selected Stephen Ray Flores Otoya, his wife Sandra Flores and their three children to become the new Habitat homeowners of the current home build project, Phoenix II, in Everett. The project is slated to finish December 15 and Habitat will dedicate the home to the Flores family close to the completion date.
The Flores family currently lives in a two bedroom apartment where 3-year-old daughter Sasha and 5-year-old son Ray share a bedroom. The Flores’ 2-month-old baby, Matias sleeps in his parents’ room. The current living situation is unsuitable for the family due to tight space and severe maintenance issues. Their apartment has mildew, sloped floors and water damage.
The balcony is unsafe for the children, so they don’t play outside often. With no nearby parks and nowhere for the kids to run around except the second floor hallway in their apartment complex, the kids can’t wait to move into a home with a backyard. Before they found out they are going to be the new homeowners, the Flores family drove by Phoenix II and saw that there is a park within walking distance.
“This is something they’ve been praying for and they knew they had no options for getting a place on their own,” Family Selection Committee Member Pat Sanvik said. “They’ve got outstanding credit, but they just couldn’t put together a down payment on their own. This is a tremendous opportunity for them.”
Mrs. Flores said she was “speechless” when she received the call informing her of the decision. After she told her kids, her son asked, “It’s because I prayed, right?” She told him that God had answered their prayers. He said “yes.”
Inside the Flores’ apartment, the wall extending from the dining room to the kitchen is filled with the kids’ drawings and inspirational wall art created by Mrs. Flores through the business she ran out of her home. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom, not working and Mr. Flores is a machinist at Boeing, working nights. The apartment is very well-kept and Mrs. Flores takes good care of their current home.
Mrs. Flores was born in the U.S., but her family lives in Peru. She met Mr. Flores when she visited her family in Peru in 2003. He worked for them as a personal assistant. They became friends and then pen pals when she came back to the U.S. He moved to the U.S. and married Mrs. Flores in 2007.
“They’re just delightful people and they have quite a story,” Sanvik said. “They’re very positive, upbeat and they’re thrilled to have a place to raise their children.”
Before the home dedication, the Flores family is required to complete 500 hours of sweat-equity work. This includes helping with the construction of their home, volunteering in the Habitat store or office and attending home maintenance and financial workshops. Mr. Flores is very bright and has an excellent work ethic, which will be great for the construction site, Sanvik said. His wife is bilingual and experienced with business and financials, which will be useful for work in the Habitat store, Sanvik added. The Flores family’s church and Mothers of Preschoolers group will provide help and support with the fulfillment of sweat-equity hours and childcare.
The Phoenix II build days are every Wednesday and Saturday through December 15. You can sign up to help the Flores family build their home here.