Veteran & family move into rehabilitated New Kent Habitat home

Posted on by HabitatAdmin

By AMY JO MARTINS

IMG_1095NEW KENT – For the first time in her life, Siva Buchanan will have a place to call home thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Buchanan spent her childhood as a “military brat,” moving with her family every three years, until 1971 when her father retired from the Army.

From the day she was born until her high school graduation, Buchanan lived in a wide variety of places, including: Germany, Arizona, Japan, Hawaii, and finally, Virginia.

Although Buchanan admittedly enjoyed the cultures of each location where she lived, Virginia has always felt the most like home to her, according to a Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity press release.

Buchanan joined the military in 1985. Like her father, Buchanan constantly changed locations throughout her service. She retired in 1996 to raise her two daughters.

She moved to New Kent County in 2001 to live with her aging parents, and to help her mother care for her sick father.

Although she was qualified in computer science, Buchanan was unable to find employment in her chosen field, so in 2004 she started working at Wal-Mart.

In 2009, Buchanan volunteered with her church, Providence United Methodist Church, to help build the first two Habitat homes in New Kent County.

Unbeknownst to Buchanan or anyone else at the time, her family would one day move into one of these homes.

In 2011, Buchanan and her two daughters, Susan, 19, and Sara, 14, were struggling to find an affordable, healthy and safe home in the county; the three women were living in a rental home.

That’s when New Kent Habitat committee member and fellow church member, Mark Hill, encouraged Buchanan to apply for the Habitat homeownership program.

Buchanan took Hill’s advice and was selected for the home under Richmond Habitat’s new program, Habitat for Heroes program.

According to Richmond Habitat, the program is open to “local heroes who are currently serving, were honorably discharged, or are family members of the fallen, and who meet the income and need for housing guidelines.”

The Habitat for Heroes program allows veterans and their families to move into homes without a down payment, zer0 percent interest, and receive discounted pricing on the home.

Buchanan has been living in her new home on a rent-to-own basis since 2011. However, the house will be formally dedicated to the family on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.

Since she moved in, Buchanan has attended eight financial and homeownership education classes and several one-on-one budgeting sessions to ensure she has the tools she needs to thrive as a homeowner.

She also completed 350 hours of “sweat equity,” or volunteer time, volunteering to rehabilitate her home and helping to build the homes of other Habitat partner families.

For more information on Habitat for Heroes, please visit: http://www.richmondhabitat.org/habitat-for-heroes.

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