Rut Yemane is, above all, a caretaker. In every aspect of her life, Rut exemplifies this spirit. Whether she is seeing to patients as a nurse assistant in a medical facility, or caring for her elderly parents as she has for the last 14 years, Rut has an eye fixed on the greater good. As an active member of her church, Rut is invested in caring for her wider community as well.
Despite crowded conditions, she currently lives in a San Francisco apartment with her parents, adult daughter, granddaughter, brother, and sister. While she is grateful for her current circumstances, Rut still lives in constant anxiety about the instability of her housing situation. Even the most minor fluctuation would force Rut and her family to seek a new situation in a market with sadly limited options.
As her parents get older, Rut has been searching for a way to provide a safe, stable, comfortable environment for them. She has searched for a haven, safe from the volatility and uncertainty of the rental market, one which could accommodate her mother, whose severely diminished mobility makes it nearly impossible to scale the stairs to their current fourth-floor apartment. She has sought a community in which she and her parents could sink deep roots.
The idea of homeownership was merely “a dream,” Rut says, until she learned about Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley from a cousin and some friends. Once she learned of the opportunity to apply for a home in Oakland, Rut wasted no time. She already had some familiarity with the neighborhood, as it is near the home base of the very close-knit religious community to which she belongs. However, she took the extra step of introducing herself to a neighbor, an introduction that turned into an hour-long conversation. She has already investigated job opportunities closer to the home, and begun envisioning how to make the space her own.
Upon approval, Rut tackled her sweat equity requirement with aplomb, paying her dues on the construction site enthusiastically. She says she “tried to work hard,” and that she was “really interested” in getting to know every part of the construction process. With the encouragement and patience of the Habitat construction team, Rut claims she has become an “almost perfect construction worker”!
Now that Habitat for Humanity has brought the dream of homeownership within Rut’s reach, she has new dreams for her future. She and her parents look forward to settling into the community and serving the neighborhood with their church. She envisions “being a good example of a community member,” getting to know her neighbors, forming the sort of closely-tied community that “looks after and cares for each other.” Ultimately, Rut’s dreams are uncomplicated. The simple pride of ownership. The chance to nurture, clean, and maintain a home of her own. The mere stability of a place she can call home without concern for the market’s whims. A garden she can plant in the spring. A space for her parents to grow old in comfort and safety. And as her Habitat home nears completion, Rut looks forward with optimism and positivity, knowing her dream of homeownership is at hand.