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Meet Sandra Smith – Grandma with a Goal!

Sandra left South Florida and her marriage about eight years ago and moved to Orlando. Things were going well until the daycare where she worked closed, her rent more-than-doubled, and her car became undrivable. Her only recourse was to live with a colleague and depend on a friend to drive her back and forth to the two part-time daycare jobs she found. That started her unstable living situation of renting rooms in other people’s homes. 

Sandra was able to save money and build her credit score, with the goal of buying a home. But when she sought mortgage approval on the conventional market, the loan amount her income allowed would only buy an “awful” house that would “set me her up for problems!”


Happily, she was hired as an Orange County Public School substitute teacher at Apopka High School and learned about Habitat Seminole-Apopka from a coworker. She applied to our Homebuyers Program, was accepted, and began her sweat equity hours. She took our Financial Academy, in addition to her mandatory classes, worked on houses, helped at a food bank, and did everything she was required to do.

Sandra is a true example that, “Things happen for a reason.” Originally choosing a lot in Apopka for her home, permitting issues delayed the start of construction. Understanding her frustration, staff offered her the choice of several sites in Sanford. Hearing an address on Holly Avenue, she immediately fell in love with the name. Sight-unseen Sandra said, “That’s the one I want!”

And this is the home Sandra is thrilled to be buying and into which she’ll be moving her 15-year-old grandson from South Florida to give him a brighter future. She wants him to get a good education in Seminole County and then go to the University of Central Florida for Engineering. 

“I now feel secure about my grandson’s future. He will always have a place…and me too,” she says. “This is the best thing that could have ever happened! It was worth the wait!”

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