Meet Our Families
Meet the Ismeus Family
Jan and Benicile Ismeus’ story begins in Haiti, where they both grew up, got married, and had their first two children. Once they were able to move to the United States, they settled in Mattapan, where they had their third child. Now a family of five, they were quickly outgrowing their two-bedroom basement apartment which was cramped and prone to flooding. After attending the home dedication of another Habitat family, the Volmars, who go to the same church, Jan and Benicile applied to the program and were accepted. Thanks to you, now all three children have their own bedrooms in the family’s comfortable and spacious Habitat home in Dorchester!
Meet the Desta-Teferras
Immigrants from Ethiopia, Ruth Desta and Meselework Teferra used to live in one of Boston’s worst public housing developments with their two kids, Debora and Raffi. With frequent gunshots outside and people doing drugs in the hallways, they feared for their children’s safety. Even with good jobs and solid credit ratings, the cost of housing in the area made it impossible for them to get out. Thankfully, the kind and generous friends of Habitat came through, once again, and the Desta-Teferra family became homeowners at Balina Place in Dorchester.
Meet the Cressys
When Liz and Ben applied to Habitat, they were living in a two-bedroom apartment in Lynn with their two little ones, Abraham and Elsie. The building was on a busy street with lots of traffic and no outdoor space for the kids to play. Despite steady employment and good credit, Liz and Ben couldn’t get financing to buy a house. But thanks to the generosity of so many, in 2018, the Cressys became the first family to own a Habitat home at Balina Place in Codman Square. Abraham and Elsie now have lots of room to run around outside with their neighbors, Debora and Raffi Desta-Teferra!
Meet the Volmars
Originally from Haiti, Jean-Alix and Elisemene Volmar used to live in Mattapan with their two kids, Minerva and Michael, and Elisemene’s mother Vierge. The apartment was so small that Vierge had to sleep on the couch in the living room. Even though Jean-Alix and Elisemene work three jobs, their rent increased more than their income each year. Today, because of support from generous people like you, they live in a newly-renovated Habitat home in Dorchester. And the family matriarch Vierge has her own bedroom and bathroom on the first floor!
Meet the Toutou-Houzes
Before Habitat, Kossi Toutou and Esther Houze were crammed into a tiny apartment in Mission Hill with their two young daughters, Pamela and Janelle. Their building was plagued with ventilation problems, rodents, and other pests. Kossi and Esther were eager for a safer home but wanted to stay in the city to be close to their jobs and the girls’ schools. Despite having excellent credit, they could not get a mortgage because of their income. Thanks to you, these hardworking parents, originally from Togo, are now Habitat homeowners of a 3-bedroom townhouse in Roslindale.
Meet the Baez-Silvas
For years, Emilio Baez and Maria Silva and their two daughters, Hailey and Isabella, lived in an apartment polluted by their neighbors’ smoking. These conditions are unsafe for any child, and it was particularly bad for Hailey because she has asthma. But the price tag on anything better was simply out of reach. Thanks to generous Habitat supporters like you, those days are now behind them. Today, the Baez-Silva family has their own home in Roslindale with lots of fresh air and outdoor space for the girls to play.
Meet the Lawsons
Amanda Lawson used to do her homework in the bathroom because it was the only place in her family’s tiny one-bedroom apartment where she could shut the door and concentrate. Her parents, Tyrone and Junia Lawson, simply couldn’t afford a home where she and her younger brother Jacques would have more space. But because of your generosity, everyone now has their own bedroom in a new home in Roslindale. And the Lawsons live alongside two other Habitat families – the Baez-Silvas and the Toutou-Houzes – who you read about above. All three families are homeowners at Red Rose Condominiums on Bradeen Street. And they became one big Habitat family almost immediately. The Lawsons even host “Pizza Night Fridays” at their place every week – with homemade pizza by Chef Tyrone!