Q & A with Habitat Homebuyer Joshann

Habitat for Humanity Homebuyer Joshann describes herself as a purple-haired artist who is deeply invested in expressing her creativity and taking care of her family. During the 300 hours of “sweat equity” she’s putting in to build her new community, she has also created illustrations for Habitat’s communications team. We caught up with her this fall to find out more about her journey with us so far.
Can you tell me more about how you grew up?
I grew up in Iowa and graduated with honors from Washington High School. Our family didn’t stay in the same home for more than a few years and I was envious of my friends who stayed in the same house all their lives. When my dad lost his job, my mom’s income became our sole income for a large family. We had to move to try and support the family. We moved from Iowa to Michigan back to Iowa and now Oregon. We would travel to Oregon every few years to visit the family. We were the only ones living not in Oregon when I was growing up. When my Dad lost his job, Mom wanted to foster, and that’s how we adopted my sisters. I feel like it mostly shaped me into a homebody. Home was never a solid place. So when I had a place to hide I would hide there. Once I have my own home, a place that is mine, maybe I won’t be such a homebody. 
What do you value most in life?
I value my artistic ability the most. That is solely mine. I have worked on it, I have nurtured it. It helps me solve problems in unique and interesting ways. I need to produce and create, making the things around me mine.
What do you consider some of your strengths?
I am creative, and I hope that that creativity will help me solve problems uniquely.
What/who inspires you?
Artistically, I am inspired by the world around me. Nothing is more beautiful than a sunrise or sunset, and how the light paint colors in the sky. A patch of lush clovers. The natural gradient of a hydrangea.
I am inspired by those around me who look like they have things more together than me. Like my coworker who is working toward their fitness goals. A friend who is going through school and share what they are learning. Or maybe someone who is passionate about something they are really into. Things like that make me want to strive toward my own goals.
I grew up around my mother who was a CEO of a non-profit housing company. So helping families into homes has always been in the background for me.
 How have you grown?
I have grown in taking care of myself. I have developed habits that I intend on taking with me for the rest of my life. I am eating better, exercising more, following my spending habits, accepting myself for who I am. All of these things I will continue to work with and fight against. But at least I have a better handle on them.
What does owning a home mean to you?
It means having control over my own space. Being able to stretch out from being in one room to a whole home. I hope that I will be able to create my own sanctuary.
How do you feel now that you’re becoming a homeowner?
I am very excited!… And scared! I am a whole wash of emotions. Owning a home was never on my game plan. My trajectory was renting and having roommates, maybe one day in the future I could have my own place. Maybe I was going to maybe live in a not so great place, maybe it was going to have problems. But now I feel more secure, new home, a neighborhood I have visited many times. Now it is just impatience. I want to be in my home yesterday! Haha!
What have you learned so far?
I have learned that I am amazed anyone wants to buy a house with how complicated the process is. It feels like the goal everyone wants to do, so they get into it, and BAM crazy. I am very thankful that I have gone to all of the classes that Habitat put on. I definitely needed to know everything that was told to me.
What are you most looking forward to after you move in?
Having my own space. I have lived on my own for about two years while I was going through my undergrad. I didn’t have the funds to live on my own after I graduated, so I have been living with my family since.

Home by Joshann
An illustration by Habitat Homebuyer Joshann


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