With no place to live at age 19, Judy Aguero turned to the organization and set out on a path that would transform her family’s future.
Judy Aguero was just 19 and pregnant with her first daughter, living in a women’s shelter in York. Not sure where to turn, she picked up a pamphlet that listed local resources and learned about York Habitat for Humanity. She decided to apply for the organization’s home-ownership program.
Judy’s application was denied.
York Habitat shared with her ways she could be in a better position to enter the program.
Not one to give up easily, she applied the next year. That application also was denied. As her circumstances shifted, she applied year after year, facing the disappointment of denial each time.
But she never gave up and neither did York Habitat. Together, they helped create a path for her to pursue her dream and make homeownership a reality.
A long and challenging road
Despite being turned down multiple times and facing countless hurdles, Judy had unwavering determination. The single mother was convinced that this program was her path to a better life. Finally, after eight years of persistence and belief in herself, Judy's application was accepted. She embarked on the challenge of earning her “sweat equity” through helping to build a home that would be her own.
On June 5, 2015, Judy and her 8-year-old daughter moved into their York Habitat for Humanity home in York.
“It was unreal. I still remember that day,” Judy says. “My daughter, she was so happy. She's like, ‘Mom, we did it!’”
Judy was not only a first-time homeowner; she was the owner of a home that she had helped to construct. Her younger daughter was born after Judy had moved in and was blessed to grow up in a stable, safe environment so different from the challenging existence that her older sister faced during Judy’s homeless days.
Judy's sweat-equity experience taught her perseverance, patience, and the importance of communication. She navigated the complexities of construction, dealing with building permits, and home ownership. She realized that good things take time and that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Nearly losing it all
Five years into Judy’s home ownership, the COVID-19 pandemic brought unexpected challenges to her life. She lost her job, and her financial stability was at risk. As a homeowner, Judy straddled the line between having too much equity in her home to receive assistance and not having enough income to sustain her family while paying the mortgage.
In her moment of need, York Habitat for Humanity provided critical support and resources. A dedicated Habitat for Humanity advocate offered Judy guidance on navigating the assistance system, securing aid, and getting on track with her mortgage.
With perseverance and the support of the organization, Judy managed to stabilize her finances, catch up on mortgage payments, and find a job as a certified nursing assistant.
Judy is finalizing plans to further her education and become a licensed practical nurse. Her older daughter, who started on the path to home ownership with Judy as a baby nearly two decades ago, just began her first year of college.
Pointing to her faith and the support of York Habitat for Humanity, Judy is grateful for the help she received in her journey from homelessness to home ownership and hope.
“Never give up, be persistent and patient, and trust the process,” she says. “Even though we want things done right away, have patience. Trust me, you’ll get frustrated, because I did. But I'm glad that I waited. I'm glad that I didn't give up in the whole process.”