The Kushkaki Family
Prior to partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, Hamid and his family lived in a small one bedroom apartment that did not provide ample space for a growing family. Because of the lack of space, their oldest child spent most of her time at the home of her grandparents. Having a home has brought this family closer together and provided a safe place for their children to thrive.
Hamid has worked as a phone banker with a large commercial bank for more than five years while Fariha works at a local restaurant. They have been married for over 10 years and have always hoped to one day be homeowners. Amina likes to draw and art is her favorite subject in school. Zahid’s favorite sport is basketball and his favorite team is the LA Lakers.
Hamid enjoyed the building process, “Putting in my sweat equity hours working alongside other partner homeowners was a good feeling because I knew I was helping my own family while also helping others to succeed.”
Claudia and her daughter, Samantha, lived in her mother’s one bedroom apartment for more than six years before Claudia was introduced to Habitat for Humanity. As a single mother, Claudia always dreamt of being able to provide her daughter with a home. Claudia has worked as an administrative service coordinator at a Special Needs Patients’ Clinic in Los Angeles for more than 12 years. As a military veteran with a job, Claudia never thought she would end up under her mother’s roof for such an extended period of time. After applying and being approved for a Habitat for Humanity home, Samantha moved to North Carolina to attend junior college but still comes home to visit her mother often. Claudia says, “The American Dream has come true for me. My daughter is now a young adult, but I still wish to provide her with her own bedroom when she comes to visit me.” Claudia also looks forward to providing a home for her future grandchildren to visit and can’t wait to plant a garden in her backyard.
In 2002, Claudia Otis and her three children were living in a homeless shelter and Claudia made a commitment to herself that she would one day own a home. She wanted to show her children that it is possible to overcome extreme challenges if you work hard. Claudia was blessed with a section 8 housing voucher and began attending school. While working full-time, Claudia has managed to obtain her GED, certification in substance abuse counseling, as well as her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. She has also been accepted into a master’s degree program in clinical psychology.
Claudia’s three children have inherited their mother’s work ethic. Jessica (16) works very hard in all of her classes, Amanda (19) enjoys Japanese language and culture and is a psychology major at California State University, Long Beach, and Matthew is attending East Los Angeles Occupational Center to learn graphic design. When not studying together, the family often volunteers to help the homeless. Ending homelessness in America is a cause very close to their hearts.
Claudia enjoyed completing her sweat equity hours and having a hand in making her dream of homeownership come true. “Being a homeowner means everything to me and this journey has allowed me to teach my children that with integrity and hard work anything is possible.”
The Peralta Family
“The kitchen will be a very special place in my new home,” says Martha Peralta. She has always dreamed of owning her own home and having a place where her daughters can gather to create long lasting memories. Martha lives with her two adult daughters, Nallely (23) and Anahi (20). The hardworking single mother has worked as a teacher’s assistant for the Los Angeles Unified School District for more than 14 years. Martha has always stressed the importance of education to her daughters. To her joy, both are currently biology majors in college. Nallely hopes to pursue a career that involves taking care of animals. Anahi spends her free time taking art classes and participating in a leadership program called “Girls Today, Women Tomorrow.” In addition to their studies, both girls play on a local soccer team. Martha feels very blessed for the opportunity Habitat has provided her family and enjoyed working alongside staff, volunteers and other partner homeowners on the construction of her home and others.
The Yi Family
Chanthy Yi is overjoyed to be a homeowner. He and his family recently moved into their home in Long Beach, a city that they have lived in for 14 years. Chanthy describes homeownership as the American dream come true. “We are still so very happy to have a real chance to finally own a home for the first time. We now have a nice place to live, to properly raise the family, to eat around the dining room table, to give us hope and a bright future.”
As a community specialist at the Cambodian Association of America, Chanthy Yi works hard to make his community a better place to live by providing social, health, education and employment services to low-income families. Chanthy and his wife, Ruth, have three boys. Johnathan (17) and Brandon (14) are both good students who enjoy a variety of subjects in school. In fact, Johnathan has even begun earning college credit. Justin (5), the youngest, enjoys playing outside.
The entire Yi family enjoyed getting to know Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers, as well as other partner homebuyers while they were completing their sweat equity hours. “My family can’t wait to plant a garden in our beautiful yard. This home has brought us even closer together by providing us with security and so much happiness.”