Among her many hobbies, one of Bianca Eleazar’s favorite activities is to “explore and see new places.” This fearless spirit of openness, optimism, and capability has carried Bianca and her two children – Camilla, age five, and James, age two – through many obstacles on a journey from a rootless life to Habitat homeowner.
Bianca’s path to homeownership was paved through a period of homelessness. She worked hard to change what she describes as a “destructive lifestyle,” pulling herself out of homelessness and into transitional housing in Santa Rosa with 20 other families, before securing her current place, a cramped one-bedroom rental she and the children share in Vallejo. She works in Marin County, and most weekends you can find her and the kids at a beach, a festival, a park, or wherever Bianca can hunt down great food or a great deal.
As a mother, though, Bianca recognized that “homeownership is important for my family because moving around is difficult with small children, and my kids need a stable, secure place to live.” To that end, she was actively searching online for a more stable low-income housing situation when she came across Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley.
Bianca says the process of becoming a partner family has been “long and yet rewarding,” as she has singlehandedly worked through hundreds of hours of sweat equity. Sweat equity has been an adventure unto itself, as Bianca was a total construction novice at the start of the process. Now, she has learned that while she definitely prefers “lighter work” like painting and landscaping, she has a new motivation to learn the skills of home maintenance. “I wouldn’t have to call someone to fix everything in my home,” she says. “Hopefully, I would know how to do some of it myself!” At the end of the day, she says she simply feels “so grateful to have been chosen.”
As she watches Camilla and James grow, Bianca sees that Habitat could not have come along at a better time. Camilla is a pensive child, whom Bianca describes as “quiet, can sit and play well by herself, and loves to play with baby dolls.” She can’t wait to “have her own room and bed to sleep in.” Having a space to call her own is especially important with a younger brother like James, who is “more active and loud,” and has a fondness for Mickey Mouse, Nerf guns, and getting his hands on Bianca’s cell phone. While James is still a little young to understand the idea of homeownership, Bianca knows that “he would be happy that he would actually have room to run around in our own home!”
For Bianca, she looks forward to planting roots. After the turmoil of a long and hard-fought journey, she is eager to just settle down and give Camilla and James stability, safety, and security. “I look forward to having a place I can really call my own,” she says, “having our own rooms, space for my kids to run around, and having a great, close-knit neighborhood at Muir Ridge.” Having grown up here in the East Bay, Martinez feels like home soil to Bianca, a place connected to her family and friends. While she works to gain experience at an insurance brokerage firm, Bianca hopes to transfer her job and her children’s schools and daycare close to their new home. And as a homeowner, Bianca hopes to start saving toward a bigger car, so she can continue to take her children on new adventures!
Bianca has been excited to watch her future home and neighborhood take shape, and to be a part of the Habitat community. “I have met most of my future neighbors, and we all get along really well,” she says. “I feel so blessed to be around such great people and look forward to moving in.”