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"This will be the happiest Mother's Day of my life"

By Angel Saffold

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I will celebrate Mother’s Day with one the greatest gifts of my life: A home

I will treasure this day forever. It will be heartwarming. It has strengthened my faith, spiritually and in others. 

I am a first-time homeowner, living in Apopka.  We moved into a beautiful four-bedroom house in March. There was a time I never thought it could happen. I've been homeless, living in a hotel with my children. Last Mother’s Day, we lived at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. There were many dark days, but I never gave up because of my faith. I kept believing and praying that I was going to make a way. 

I have so much to be thankful for now. Faith in the "others" who helped make this happen, starting with Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka. I was at the Rescue Mission at the end of 2022 when I was connected to Habitat. I applied for the home-ownership program in January of 2023. 

They made my dream attainable. I started by taking financial literacy classes.  It was so beneficial. I found out about keeping your home maintained and keeping your credit score up. All that helps sustain you after you move into a new home. 

Some people say, 'Well, they give them a home and that's a good thing' but there's so much more to that. First off, the homes are not free. Applicants purchase the home at an affordable price through donations. And then they teach you how to be a responsible homeowner. 

In mandatory classes, they talk to you about insurance and trust funds, about your state taxes, your property taxes, everything -- even learning about my city commissioner in Apopka. 

And so many people helped me along the way. I am so grateful for my Pastor, Sharon Riley. She has been one of the most influential persons in this journey along with Naomi Ings and Dawn Higgs. There is one person in particular, Idalia Nunez, with Habitat. She was an amazing loan officer. Idalia had a calm demeanor every time. Whatever was needed, she called with a smooth, soft voice. She was very efficient and  exceedingly kind and told me everything I needed to succeed. 

From Idalia to Penny {Seater, CEO of Habitat Seminole-Apopka] to Kelly, the whole organization. It was like a family outside of family. They were excited to see someone come from homelessness to owning their own home. That seemed to bring a lot of joy in making that happen for other people. 

This is the best chapter of my life. But there were other chapters in my life filled with dark days. I hung out with the wrong crowd. I got into drugs and alcohol and doing things I should not be doing. But even before I found help from Habitat, I had an opportunity to turn my life around and get right and get focused. I was able to go back to school and graduate from college. 

I have a job with Orlando Health. I started working in the orthopedic department and now I work in the pulmonology department. I help patients by scheduling their appointments, getting prescription refills, and ensuring that the insurance is active.  

Now my mind is clear, my heart is clear, my focus is clear. And this not only helped me, but it also showed my children that no matter what you're going through, you can overcome these awful things that you face in life. So that was my push as well to make sure I got to where I am now. So that my children will see how to take that journey as well. 



And I want to help others on their journey too. I can volunteer and help build someone else's home.  That's what I did this Thursday. And that was so rewarding. I love to do that because I know where I came from. I know the process  and can help because I've been through it. 

Angel's children proudly looking at their mother becomes a first time homeowner in Central Florida
Angel and her family cutting a red ribbon to their brand new home

And that is why this will be the happiest Mother's Day of my life. I always wanted a house. I wanted a big yard so I could have my family over and see my grandkids and play and just run in that backyard. I am filled with celebrating our first Mother's Day in my own home. Thank you all who have helped along the way. 

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