FAIRFIELD — Two Fairfield families are finally living the dream – of homeownership.
Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity dedicated a pair of houses Saturday to cap a years-long project that united the community.
Jean Hamilton and Lolita Parker will now be neighbors after facing similar challenges during tough economic times.
Longtime Fairfield resident Hamilton, who is raising three grandchildren, said her life changed after her husband died.
“I raised my kids on my own, then my grandkids,” she said.
The 63-year-old grandmother, who has worked as an educator, said she lost her job in 2007 when teacher layoffs were prevalent, and she also experienced homelessness in 2002. More recently, her grandchildren, Melanie, 16; Bobby, 14; and Courtney, 12, have been crammed into one room.
Hamilton looks forward to her new front porch and the space her new three-bedroom, two-bathroom home will provide.
“Bobby is finally going to get his own room,” she said.
Single mother Parker, 36, was living in a two-bedroom apartment with her four children, Brandi, 19; Eboni, 16; Amariea, 13; and DaJuan, 5, for a few years.
“Overall, the space was very cramped,” said the former Suisun City resident.
Parker thought she had qualified for a Habitat for Humanity home a few years ago only to find out at the last minute that she didn’t make the cut.
In August 2011, “Habitat Corner” on Acacia and Clay streets was put on hold, said Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Diane Agnone during Saturday’s ceremony. The original project featured three two-story homes, but the Habitat board scrapped those plans for reasons that included funding difficulties during tough economic times and a design that didn’t match the neighborhood. Eventually, the board restarted the project, but with only two homes. Parker, who was third on the list, was told she no longer qualified.
Fortunately for the Parkers, the other family eventually failed to qualify for one of the “Habitat Corner” homes, and Parker was assured in November 2011 she would get a home after all.
“It was worth the wait,” she said.
Saturday’s ceremony outside the houses at 349 and 355 Acacia St. brought together community members and regional dignitaries that included state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis; Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley; Fairfield Vice Mayor Rick Vaccaro; Rio Vista Vice Mayor Constance Boulware; Vacaville Mayor Steve Hardy; and Fairfield-Suisun school board member Pat Shamansky.
Fairfield Mayor Harry Price was unable to attend.
For more information, visit www.solanonapahabitat.org.