Jessica moved to Austin, TX from Washington state six years ago to attend St. Edward’s University for Art Education. While she wasn’t planning on staying in Austin after graduating, she got a job as the art teacher at Barbara Jordan Elementary School, a Title 1 low-income school in East Austin. Jessica fell in love with Austin, and she can’t imagine leaving now. Her favorite thing about Austin is her students, without a doubt. Unfortunately, like so many other teachers, Jessica spends over a third of her income on housing. She lives in a 400-square studio that is cramped, uncomfortable, and sometimes filled with tree rats who find their way in from through the walls. She’s had to move every year since living in Austin because the rent increases are more than what it costs to move.
Jessica found out about the Habitat program when she was 10 years old, when her single mother of six went through the program in Washington. This Habitat home was the first home the family ever owned, and her mother and stepfather still live there today. While Jessica is an advocate for the program, she never imagined she would qualify herself. When the Scenic Point neighborhood started developing near her job, Jessica looked into the program again, and thus began her own Habitat journey.
Owning a home will change Jessica’s life through gaining financial freedom and a higher quality of life. In her new home, she will have the freedom to design a space that fits her life, and she’ll have more room to grow, which will someday include a family. One of her long-term goals is to foster children in Austin and possibly adopt a child one day. She’s most excited about having the space and financial ability to care for children. Until then, she’s excited to host friends, meet neighbors, and build strong relationships in her community.
Jessica moved into her Scenic Point home in May of 2019. Upon moving in, she shared with us the following thoughts: “Monday morning was the first morning I awoke in my new house. It was very early – because I haven’t yet decided on blinds – but I didn’t mind the sun shining through. The morning light illuminated so many things I love about this place: the crisp white walls, shiny blue-green floors, a backyard that feels expansive for Austin which I’ve already planted with herbs and sunflower starts I began from seed back in my old apartment. I walked to work in 7 minutes. I know the name of my mail carrier. My new future neighbors text good morning and rang my doorbell for help jumping their car. You built more than a house, you helped me build a better quality of life. You are building more than the Scenic Point neighborhood, you are building a strong community of kind, diverse, and hardworking families and individuals.”