Karina Gilbo’s Story

Karina Gilbo is a woman who leans firmly on her faith, and increasingly on the kindness of her neighbors. A recent job loss has made life complicated and a bit scary.

The 36-year-old mother cares for her four special needs children, ages 16, 13, 7 and 5, at their home in Gold Bar. With public schools closed, Karina has recruited her own mom to help home-school the children. Previously, they attended classes designed for their disabilities. Two have autism and two are blind, reading by braille.

Her home is a place of love, safety and security for her family. In 2012, Karina built this home in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County. Because much of the cost of the construction was paid through charitable donations, grants and corporate sponsorships, and the labor was provided by volunteers, she could afford to become a first-time homeowner even on a low income.

Life got very difficult this spring with the onset of COVID-19. Karina lost a job she loved just five minutes from her house. The proximity to home meant she could get to the kids quickly if one was sick or hurt. Now she juggles the kids’ needs, the growing stack of bills and medical appointments without an income. She may be able to get her job back, but she doesn’t know when.

“I truly can manage only one day at a time. Anything beyond today is a blur to me. My faith is all that gets me through. My mortgage payment is coming up soon,” she said. 

Karina is already using food banks for their groceries. That got more complex this month when one of the kids was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and now needs special food and medicine. She says members of her church and the Gold Bar community are helping where they can.

Despite the tremendous challenges before them, Karina is immensely grateful to Habitat for Humanity and its supporters for the place they call home. “If it wasn’t for Habitat, I honestly don’t know where we would be right now,” she said through tears of gratitude.

This is one of several stories of Habitat homeowners who are struggling to get by due to job loss or reduced hours. But you can help! Our Family Stability Fund was created to help families with temporary mortgage payments, car payments and life essentials, like food beyond what food banks can do.

To help Habitat families like Karina and others, donate to the Family Stability Fund at: https://habitatsnohomish.org/stabilityfund/