While she has plenty of reasons to get excited about her family’s future home at Esperanza Place, Shereda had a clear and simple motivation to apply for homeownership through Habitat for Humanity.

“Education,” she says. “I have a degree in Finance.” Shereda’s expertise made the prospect of affordable homeownership a no-brainer. “I’m spending all this money on rent, and it’s just gone. Whereas if you own something... it’s investing in yourself. That’s what it’s about.”

More important than its benefits to herself, though, Shereda sees homeownership as a mother to 21-year-old Sherese – as a vehicle for “growing generational wealth for my family... if it can help my daughter, my future grandchildren, it would be worth it.”

And it is no small feat. In addition to the financial discipline it takes to prepare for homeownership, Shereda also commutes to the construction site for her volunteer hours through some 150 miles. 

Though she is a Bay Area native – spending her childhood in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park – Shereda has been living at her mother’s in Madera for close to a year to manage the cost of living. With her job as a research financial analyst in San Francisco, though, “being so far away is kind of a hardship.”

Her future home will put her just steps from BART and local buses, and Shereda looks forward to commuting: “Honestly, I prefer public transportation. I like to read, and I don’t usually have time. So, I like to read on the train.”

There are other things, big and small, that stoke Shereda’s optimism. “I’m excited about the net zero,” she says, referring to the fact that Esperanza Place is designed to produce more energy than it will consume. “It’s progress! I’m happy that Habitat decided to go with that.” 

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There’s the anticipation of privacy, something that has been in shorter supply since she’s moved in with her mother. Or the idea of painting her own walls – “Now, I’ll get to pick my own colors,” she smiles. Or having a home base from which to plan her next global adventure – adding more stamps to an already full passport – or smaller adventures like meeting up with family and losing to her mother at the bowling alley.

And, of course, there is the opportunity for her daughter, Sherese, to plant roots after a year of juggling living situations to manage college at San Jose State as well as a full-time job. Watching her dip into her ample creativity to decorate her space in vibrant colors. The simple pleasure of enjoying each other’s company at home.

Then, too, there is the neighborhood. After a childhood of moving around, Shereda places a high value on community. She can, in fact, see herself on the board of the homeowners’ association. She is a person who connects easily, one “who is comfortable in most situations,” and she’s “ready to be involved and know people.” 
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With 41 more homeowners soon to share this neighborhood with her, Shereda is sure to nurture an incredible community at Esperanza Place.

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