This isn’t the first time Karina Gilbo has been through tough times. Her faith and Habitat for Humanity helped her then – just as they do now.
A mom of four special needs children, Karina and her family live in a home in Gold Bar that she and Habitat of Humanity of Snohomish County built together. It serves as a safe and comfortable refuge for her to raise her children, two of whom have autism and two who are blind, reading by braille.
Life got exceedingly difficult this spring with the onset of COVID-19. Karina lost a job she loved just five minutes from her house. The unemployment office said she did not qualify for unemployment benefits. Now she juggles the kids’ needs, home schooling, and the growing stack of bills without an income. She may be able to get her job back, but she does not know when. In the meantime she is working to hang on to the home that has brought stability and security to her family.
Her home means everything to her. Before she was selected to become a Habitat homeowner, she lived in a temporary rental with her parents. Her family of four lived in a single, large downstairs room. A sheet hung from the ceiling to try and divide the room, providing little privacy. The home was unusually cold, and the girls got sick often. At one point, black mold was found in their room. Against housing regulations, the landlord tried to make them do the mold remediation themselves. Soon after that, however, they were selected by Habitat for Humanity for the Homeownership Program and found a different temporary solution until the home was completed.
“Habitat was a pure Godsend,” Karina comments. “Hundreds of volunteers – including dozens of veterans – built this home, plank by plank.” (That was an especially poignant touch as her brother, father and grandfather are also veterans.) “Habitat taught us everything about home ownership, arranged the financing and walked with us every step of the way. That was in 2012 and it’s been a sanctuary for my family ever since. I don’t know where I would be without them right now.”
Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County created the Family Stability Fund to help Karina and other Habitat homeowners who have been affected by job loss and reductions in hours. With your support, we will provide temporary assistance for mortgages, car payments, and other essential bills.
To help these families, support the Family Stability Fund at the button below.
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