As Tuan and Cuc planned out their young family’s future, there were two things they wanted to accomplish: having a home of their own and providing their two daughters, Sally and Vicky, with the opportunity for a better life. Although they struggled to make ends meet after immigrating to the states, constantly burdened with finding better paying jobs to match ever-increasing rent, they were determined to find a solid foundation for their family.
By chance, a friend recommended they apply to Habitat for Humanity’s affordable homeownership program.
“When we found out we were accepted, we were so thankful,” Tuan says. “We had worked so hard to get to this place. I wanted to start building my home right away.”
After putting in hundreds of hours of “sweat equity,” building not only their home, but their neighbors’ as well, Tuan and Cuc finally moved into their new community in Southeast Portland. Their daughters were just finishing elementary school and couldn’t wait to see their finished home.
“My daughters were so excited to have their own room,” Tuan says. “They had space to study and grow.”
Almost a decade later, Tuan and Cuc continue to strengthen their family’s home. With Sally and Vicky off to college, they converted half the living room into a mother-in-law suite for Cuc’s mother, Kim. It was important for them to keep their home open to all their family members, especially Kim. Owning their own home gave Tuan and his family the resources they needed to help Kim age in place, granting her the comfort of family and friends who often came to visit.
They just needed one more thing to make the first level of their home completely ADA-accessible. So they reached out to Habitat for Humanity to help transform their home to fit their multi-generational needs. We partnered with Unlimited Choices, a local nonprofit that specializes in mobility needs, to donate a ramp for Kim, free of charge. Now, a permanent ramp wraps around their backyard; it not only serves as access to Kim’s room, but also a welcoming spot for friends she’s made throughout the community.
Although deeply humble, Tuan admits he is proud of how far his family has come. He and Cuc have accomplished everything they set out to do: keeping their family close while making room to let them grow.
“Family is the most important,” Tuan says. “Habitat has treated us like family and we are so thankful.”