Freddie doesn’t hesitate when you ask her about her favorite room in the house. “The bathroom,” she smiles. “It’s got the new shower in, and I can get in and out of that shower by myself. It’s great. Just to have hot water running over my head."
“All the repairs I needed to do, I knew I couldn’t afford. It was good having Habitat at my back.”
It might seem like a simple pleasure, but up until Habitat remodeled her bathroom, Freddie was driving a mile away to her sister’s apartment just to use her shower. Freddie’s old clawfoot tub was a challenge for her mobility, and her “old pipes made the hot water run a slow trickle into the bathtub.” While the new walk-in shower and plumbing have made Freddie’s bathroom safe, comfortable, and useful again, the old tub has been moved out to her backyard to be repurposed as a planter. A new roof, fresh paint inside and outside, and a new electrical panel have Freddie feeling secure again in the home that she loves.
“It’s beautiful here now,” she says. “I’m loving it.” That security means a lot to Freddie, in this home she has lived in for decades.
Her mother, Mattie, moved Freddie and her siblings to this East Oakland home from Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1966. Freddie went to Fremont High School on Foothill Boulevard, graduating in 1974. She was a “studious” kid, “intent on going to college.” She did, earning a scholarship to attend Tufts University. After college and some time in Los Angeles, Freddie returned to care for her mother in her last years. In 1988, Mattie passed away, and Freddie purchased the family home from her mother’s estate. It’s a home that has seen countless family holidays and backyard barbecues crowded with friends and her mother’s prize rose bushes. A home Freddie dearly wants to keep in her family for generations.
Before she secured home repairs made by Habitat for Humanity, that legacy hung in the balance.
"Oh my goodness,” she remembers thinking. “I might have to sell this house and move back to Arkansas or something, where I might afford a place... Habitat was a lifesaver."
Now, Freddie can rest easier, knowing her home and family legacy are secure. Retired from a career in computer programming and caregiving, Freddie can enjoy the calm of watching television in the living room, surrounded by art and family photos that stretch back generations. Gardening. Socializing with neighbors she has known for dozens of years. Having family gathered at her table. Freddie has invested her home with decades of work, pride, and love, as did her mother before her. The home is years of equity built and connections drawn and memories made. With repair and improvement, this home can continue to do just that for Freddie and her family, for years to come. “All the repairs I needed to do, I knew I couldn’t afford that,” Freddie says. “It was good having Habitat at my back."