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How a Hand Up Changes Lives

Posted on August 15, 2022

Fox Cities Habitat’s vision is to ensure everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to live. Here’s a great follow-up from one of our homebuyer families who have not only succeeded at making a better life for their family but excelled at it.

Samantha and Jason Hoyt applied to the Habitat homebuyer program in 2019. At the time of application, they were a family of 2 adults, 4 kids, 2 cats and a dog living in a small rental home. One son has special needs – born missing part of his brain, called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. Because of their son’s condition, he had mobility issues and going up and down stairs was impossible. Jason would have to carry him up and down the stairs, and the doorways were not wide enough for a wheelchair. Once they were accepted into the program, they found a perfect Rehab home in Kaukauna. Many structural updates were made, as well as zero grade entry for wheelchair access.

When they found out they were accepted, Samantha said, “With this home we will be able to meet his needs of a first-floor bedroom and zero grade entrance. We are excited to be able to improve his and our other children’s quality of life. We have adopted from foster care to grow our family three times and have been blessed. With this home we will be able to provide a home that they can call theirs, without worrying about moving or a lease coming up. Our 11-year-old son is developmentally disabled and was adopted from foster care. We hope to continue foster care in our new home as well.”

Once they had moved in and got settled, Samantha and Jason embarked on their very first home improvement project. They were not allowed to paint any of the rooms at their rental, and were so excited to make a few updates! Samantha emailed the Family Services team with a photo and a note, “I just wanted to share a picture of our bathroom with you. We are so thankful for the program and you lovely ladies in Family Services that helped us. We would never have been able to paint a bathroom without you. Also, we just paid for a land survey and put down our deposit on a fence! Jason is building my garden boxes in the garage so they are ready in spring. I am excited to be able to grow our own fruits and vegetables.”

Image of newly painted bathroom

During the pandemic, we checked in with our homeowners, and asked how their Habitat house helped them. This was Samantha’s reply: “We are so thankful for our home especially through this pandemic! This house has given us the space to be able to virtual school! In our rental we were squished and basically living 3 to 4 to a bedroom. There was no way we could have provided quiet space for schooling. This year for the holidays we are staying home and not having people over which is a bummer but we already started decorating. I am talking big over the top decorations inside and out! All windows, gutter and anything that can get lights will. We want our house to be a house families can drive by and look at together while being safe. We have never decorated outside before and now that we have our own house we can. Our favorite thing as a family is to pile in the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights and we hope people will enjoy looking at ours. I am also thankful that we finally have a kitchen that our family of 7 can eat in comfortably which will come in handy for the holidays.”

The pandemic threw them another curve ball – “Jason had to have brain surgery in October right when the hospitals started closing down again. He had to stay overnight than he had to have another emergency surgery a week after that one. He is doing so much better. He is finally back to work off all restrictions. There was more than once that I was so thankful for this home during that time. This home made it possible to take care of all my family and keep them safe while we handled bigger things.”

We heard from Samantha again in May 2022 with additional family update news – they have just finalized the adoption of their fifth child who is also special needs. They wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this and open their home to special needs fostering if it weren’t for Habitat.