Amanda Clark smiles as she anticipates what it will feel like that first night, she and her children go to sleep in their new home.
All the hours of sweat equity, the homebuyer classes, months and months of hard work—their new home in Waterloo, Iowa, will at last be theirs with help from Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity and John Deere.
"It's going to give me a foundation," Clark said. "I feel like the home is my sanctuary place. This home is going to give me and my kids peace of mind, knowing that this is ours and ours forever."
Ali Parrish, executive director of Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity, said home buyers like Clark, who are struggling to afford purchasing a home on their own, complete 300 hours of sweat equity and 10 weeks of homebuyer education classes—typically 18-24 months in all—before purchasing their home from Habitat with a zero-percent or low-interest loan, which they can pay back over time.
"Habitat provides such a step-by-step way supporting and walking with the family from the very beginning to the completion, which is so awesome," said Laura Hoy, president of the Walnut Neighborhood Association in Waterloo.
Recently, the John Deere Foundation announced it will invest $200 million over the next 10 years, including $100 million in families and youth who live in John Deere's home communities. This funding will support the critical work of nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
"It is important that this community continues to thrive and that we can continue to support the underserved," said Becky Guinn, factory manager at John Deere Waterloo Works. "Habitat here has one of the best strategies where they're going into neighborhoods that are actually just around some of our key factories and continuing to rebuild them, help provide jobs and help create an environment so this community can continue to be successful in the future."
For homebuyers like Clark, that support makes all the difference.
"You've opened a big huge door to our future," Clark said. "I think this home is our biggest blessing."
It is important that this community continues to thrive and that we can continue to support the underserved.