When April talks about buying the first-ever 3D printed Habitat for Humanity home on the East Coast, it has nothing to do with the snazzy technology that will print the walls.
Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg broke ground on the three-bedroom, 1,200 square-foot house in Forest Heights on July 12. The only other 3D printed Habitat home is under construction in Tempe, Arizona.
April is excited to become a first-time homeowner because of her 12-year-old son, who will be a seventh-grader this fall.
Yes, she looks forward to helping him decorate his bedroom with superhero favorites and wrestling stars. Of course, having a good-sized backyard will be inviting space for him to play with their Shih Tzu puppy, Tink.
But April is more focused on the perseverance it took for her to secure this home, an example she hopes will help her son realize that all things are possible.
“I’ve been through a lot, but I’m trying to be strong because I have a son,” she said. “I want him to understand that if you work hard, you can always get where you need to be. You just have to be patient and try. And keep trying.”
Three previous times when April thought she had been approved to purchase a Habitat home, it didn’t happen. She refused to be daunted despite balancing three jobs, including her primary position in the laundry department at a local hotel. She improved her credit and worked with Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Great Williamsburg staff to turn her vision of becoming a first-time homebuyer into a reality.
“They want you to succeed at Habitat,” April said. “They help you along the way. They give you chances to pay off whatever you need to pay off before you go to the next step.”
April has overcome a lot to get here. She lost her mother in 2007 and, soon after, discovered she was pregnant. After giving birth, April relied on her grandmother to help with childcare while working in home health and housekeeping. Some days she worked from morning until midnight and didn’t take weekends off.
Still April didn’t think a home would fit into her budget, so the pair lived in an apartment. But her aunt, a Habitat homeowner in Williamsburg, encouraged her to apply, and when things didn’t work out, to apply again.
When April got the final green light from Habitat last spring, she was overwhelmed. It’s a bonus that the home will be completed quickly, as 3D printed technology will be used to construct the walls. As a green home, energy bills will be lower and environmental impact, minimal.
“It will be really exciting once the house is done,” she says.
Construction of each home built by Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg is a cooperative effort among volunteers, house sponsors and the buyer of the home. April has already put in what’s called sweat equity — 300 hours of hands-on labor on behalf of Habitat. She looks forward to finishing up by logging hours working on her new home.
When prodded, April will reveal that accessorizing the kitchen in a farmhouse theme will be fun for her. But her primary focus revolves around what home ownership will mean for her son.
She wants him to be outdoors more and in front of the computer less. “It will be his own yard,” she says. “He’ll have his own space.”
Continuing, she added, “I just want to make my son happy. I want to show him if you really want something, you can do it. He sees how I go in and out the door to go to work, cook him something to eat, and leave and go again. Hopefully this is a message that shows, ‘Mom can do it. I can do it.’ ”