Excerpted from a speech by self-help housing homeowner Kelli Warner:
A few years ago, I read an article about a program offered by Burbank Housing which assisted people in becoming homeowners. I learned that to actually make it happen for myself, I had to be willing to work as hard as I could on the construction of the homes until they were all completed. I knew it would be worth it, so I equipped myself with tunnel-vision and focused on the end result. I tried not to worry about yesterday or tomorrow, I just did what I could today.
Not only did I achieve my goal of being a homeowner, which five years ago seemed beyond my reach, I had the most awesome experience of my life! I learned how to build, how to use power tools, how to suit-up and show-up no matter what. I got to know all of my neighbors and built friendships with all of these people. Before we became neighbors, we became friends! The camaraderie that was built in our neighborhood is incredible, as are the beautiful homes!
I came from a low-income family, was orphaned as a young adult, was in a violent relationship, am recovering from alcoholism and addiction, and eight years ago I was homeless.
Today my power lies in remarkable gratitude. I am not a victim, there are no lost causes, and I‘m still standing. With the help of organizations like Burbank Housing, I am empowered by the spirit and support of a meaningful experience.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of myself and my children. Thanks to Burbank Housing, we will only be going to homeless shelters to give back what we can... not to stay.