The Doner Family
“We felt that we didn’t have any options” – The Doner Family
Elise and Dwayne Doner have lived in the unsafe basement apartment of a split level house for 16 years because they had no other options. The owner of the house lived in the upstairs apartment when they moved in but he got married and moved out and seemed to stop caring about his tenants and the condition of the house. Their young sons Rubin and Finn have only known that home.
Every year the apartment floods and when Hurricane Irene struck, they had standing water in their apartment. Elise found her youngest son standing in water and he was afraid that he had caused the flood by spilling a glass of water! The flooding is due in part to a cracked foundation which the landlord has refused to repair. The windows are old and allow water to come in the sides of the windows and also make the apartment cold.
The family’s only source of heat is electric baseboards and they also need to run a dehumidifier constantly so their electric bill is high all year round. Because of all the flooding, the carpeted floors are moldy.
You might be wondering why the family didn’t complain to the town. Elise said “We felt that we didn’t have any options. We don’t have family to live with and we have no nest egg. We worried that if we complained to someone that the apartments would be closed and we wouldn’t be able to find another place to live in our town. My husband walks to work because we only have one car and I need that to get to work.”
Elise is a Head Start teacher at Cambridge Elementary and Dwayne does food production for “It’s Arthur’s Fault”, a sauces and marinades company in Jericho. When asked what they were most looking forward to in their new home, the responses came quickly!
Elise responded, “My mother is disabled and can’t make it down the steep stairs to our apartment but she will be able to come to our new home. Plus, our energy bills will be low and our home won’t be flooded!”
“We’ll have a home that people can come to, we’ll have pride in our home and privacy, no longer having to worry about who’s living in the apartment upstairs”, replied Dwayne. Rubin and Finn are excited that they will see sunlight in their new home!
Dwayne said that the process of applying for a Green Mountain Habitat built home has been exciting as they met with the Family Selection committee, filled out applications and provided lots of documentation. “We were so excited and filled with hope and anticipation that we might actually be selected for the Milton house.”
The Doners are really looking forward to helping to build their home although Elise is from a “non DIY” family. Her father was a minister and didn’t do carpentry but Dwayne’s grandfather was a carpenter and his father has many years of experience as an electrical technician and Dwayne is looking forward to the opportunity to learn new skills while working on their home. “We’ll be able to have control in our new home with the ability to fix things rather than hope that a landlord will take care of problems.
“We have hope, now, about the wellbeing of our family” said Elise. “Owning our own home will mean the opportunity to climb out of poverty, to have equity, to have a base to spring forward from and a haven to return to, for years and generations to come.”