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LaKENDRA O’BANNON

What do you do when you are living in a “rent to own” home and you find a letter on the door addressed to the landlord for not paying the taxes-stating that the tenet must vacate the home in 6 days?  You move out and you lose all the “equity” you paid into the rent to own arrangement.  That’s the situation that LaKendra  O’ Bannon and her children found themselves in a few years ago.

“I really didn’t know what to do.  My babysitter took our family in while I looked for a new place to live. Now I live in a better neighborhood with an attentive landlord, but I can’t save anything for my future since everything I make goes to rent and utilities.”  Since landing a stable job with Einstein’s Bagels 3 years ago LaKendra started looking into partnering with Habitat.  “I love the customers and people I work with at Einstein’s, but it’s still really hard to make enough to cover much more than rent and utilities here in Champaign-Urbana.” 

Now LaKendra and her three children Nazyra (13), Kyan (10), and Rylan (2) are looking forward to becoming Habitat home owners.  Working full time, LaKendra expects to save about $300 a month on her mortgage with Habitat.  “I’m an only child, and my father was a minister.  Just before he passed in 2011 he had told my older kids that he was going to take them to Disney World.  That’s been on hold for 5 years now since he’s gone and I’m still trying to make ends meet as a single mom.”  “In our new Habitat home I will be able to start some college savings accounts, and then we’ll see if I can make my dad’s Disney promise come true.”

LaKendra says “words cannot explain the gratitude I have for this opportunity with Habitat.  Everyone has probably had a time in their life when they needed some help.  I consider this “hand up” from Habitat and all the volunteers, a wonderful blessing to help my family to a better future. I can’t wait to get started building!”