Only a few years ago Aimee was living in Long Beach, dreaming of what it would be like to own her own home. Come December, Aimee will have lived in the Millennium Homes community with her son Dylan and sister Celeste for exactly one year. We interviewed her to see what it’s been like for Aimee to be the first homeowner in her family. It’s the little things that make such a big difference in the daily life of her family and so much more.
How have you been settling into your new home? What does it feel like to be a homeowner?
It’s been one of the best experiences of my life! To me, being a homeowner has given me peace of mind and security. To know that my son and family have a permanent home, for the first time ever, feels like a continuous blessing. It also feels like a surprise because sometimes I forget that I own a home. When it’s time to pay the mortgage, I think “it’s time to pay the rent” and I have to stop myself. Sometimes I want to buy something and think “Oh no, I don’t have the space” because I grew up like that. Now, I remind myself that’s not how it is anymore.
What is one of your favorite things about owning a home?
One of my favorites things has been seeing my son playing and running all over the house. It’s been amazing! We used to live in an apartment, and I used to tell him no running. Now, I’m so grateful I don’t have to worry about disturbing neighbors’ downstairs. For me, being a homeowner has changed and evolved my life in so many ways. I feel safe and grateful that my family has a space to come together and enjoy ourselves. There’s so much joy and gratitude in knowing that home will look different to my son than it did to me.
Do you have a favorite place in your home? What do you like to do there?
My favorite places have been my bed and my room! I wake up every day saying, “Wow, I have the best bed.” Growing up, I always shared a bed with my siblings and shared a room with my sister. To be able to have my own space to unwind at the end of the day and watch my favorite shows has been my favorite thing to do.
Have you established any new routines, practices, or traditions with your family?
I recently bought a coffee machine. I’m a big coffee fan and I’ve always wanted to make my own coffee. I created a coffee station in my house and now I make coffee for my sister, and I make it every day before work. It brings me so much happiness every morning because now I have enough space in my kitchen to make this special coffee station.
How is your son adjusting to his new space? What does he like to do at home?
He is so happy! He has always loved being home, but now he loves to get home from school and take out all of his toys and dinosaurs to play. He loves being in his room and even having time for himself. Sometimes I will be in his room with him, and he’ll say, “Mom, can I be alone for a moment?” We have a place to do his homework where it’s quiet. I love coming home and seeing how much he is enjoying having his own space.
He also loves to go to the skate park next to us to ride his scooter. Now, he can go with my older siblings, and I can watch him joyfully from the window of my dining room.
In what ways have you been connecting with your neighbors and broader community?
All of us stay in touch—we contact each other in case of emergencies and to share resources. I’m also really close to my next-door neighbor Martha, she also has a little boy, and it’s been fun to connect as moms. I’ve also gotten more involved in the community than I was before. I am part of the Community Navigators program with Habitat LA. This year, I’m helping to plan the Dia de Los Muertos event and it’s been so fun!
As a Community Navigator, I enjoy being a resource to my neighbors. Recently, I made a Cafecito in front of my house and invited my Millennium Homes neighbors and other friends in the community. We ate bagels and drank coffee, and we shared resources about the community and talked about issues we’d like to change.
How are you staying involved (or hope to stay involved) with Habitat LA?
I plan on continuing to be a part of the Community Navigators program, this is my second year. I’ve had so much fun, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve met people from the neighborhood that I didn’t know before.
Thank you, Habitat LA, for everything that you do. Thank you for helping our community create events like Dia de Los Muertos, which highlight our culture and help us celebrate our roots and where we come from. We are making our community better, together! Now we have resources to have a better place to live for us, for our families and our kids.