Home is a Place to Refuel

When Chris hosted the first gathering in his new home on the Fourth of July, his backyard was dotted with the faces of more than 50 friends and neighbors – a testament to the community Chris has been steadily building in Littleton over the past decade. As Chris tells it, it was his strong support network that had his back and cheered him on when it came time to buy a home.

“Home is where I refuel and recharge,” he said. “It’s amazing to be able to share my home with others.”

Chris’s line of work had previously made it difficult for him to find an affordable, safe place to live. He works long and late hours at Jake’s in Downtown Littleton, a community hub where he enjoys offering patrons his quick wit and listening ear. He worked hard to pay off debt, and was disciplined in saving money – hoping to qualify for a home. But when he saw the house price he was approved for, it immediately felt out of reach.

“Before I bought my home, nothing was stable – and my mood wasn’t stable either,” said Chris, who had been working in local restaurants since he moved to Littleton from Houston in 2013. “I couldn’t see an end to the cycle of paying rent and seeing that money go out the door.”

Fortunately, one of his friends – a realtor – mentioned Habitat Denver’s affordable homeownership programs. She reviewed the requirements with Chris and encouraged him to apply. He persisted, even after being denied a couple of times. And when the email came through announcing that he was approved, he knew immediately who to tell.

“I texted all my friends who had been on the journey with me. I couldn’t shut up about it,” he said. “I was in shock – an amazing shock!”

His home in Littleton is part of a group of homes that Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver is renovating and selling affordably to working individuals and families. For those in the service industry like Chris, homeownership brings stability, peace of mind, and – most powerfully – the chance to build community.

“Fight for it. Lean on your community, and keep going,” Chris says to others in the service industry who want to own a home. “You have to allow yourself to have that dream. Keep trying, even if you’re denied. Stay positive.”