Habitat doubles down on Carbondale plan
When the time came to select a recipient for the next Habitat for Humanity home in Carbondale, two families emerged from a field of 28.
Kristina and Alonzo Deadwiler have been married six years and have two daughters: Nyomie, 5, and Maliyah, 2. Kristina, 32, hails from Minnesota while Alonzo arrived from California woefully underdressed for midwinter. She stays at home with the kids in New Castle, while he makes the commute to Carbondale where he’s a service manager at Wells Fargo.
Natalia and Zane Sisneros have nine years of marriage under their belts and two sons: Ty, 4, and Liam, 18 months. Zane, 34, a Gypsum native, works as a detention deputy for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Natalia, 35, comes from northern Argentina and spends her time balancing childcare with certified nursing assistant classes and volunteering.
With only one house under way, the committee would have faced a difficult decision, but Habitat Roaring Fork President Scott Gilbert decided not to compromise.
“We were really impressed with both families — so much so that we decided to build another house faster than we originally planned,” Gilbert said.
Stacey Novak, a loan officer who volunteered to help coach the families through the process and financial management, was thrilled to make the call to the Sisneros.
“It’s been an incredible experience to get to know the family, the kids, and be part of their story,” she said.
Ryan Parker, a coach for the Deadwilers, agreed.
“It’s an easy group to be passionate about,” he said.
The families will be neighbors in Keator Grove and will go through the process alongside the Dorys in Basalt.
“We’ve always tried to pick two or three families at a time for a reason,” explained volunteer coordinator Geneva Farr.
Nyomie and Maliyah have already decided what color to paint their bedrooms — purple and rainbow, of course — while Ty is busy setting up play dates.
“We shared the whole process from the beginning,” Natalia said. “They’re still little, but they’re so excited about having our own house.”
The adults are every bit as enthusiastic.
“To know that you’re going to be grounded in this valley is an amazing thing,” Kristina said. “I thought I’d never adjust when I moved out here. It was so different from the city life I was used to. Now I can’t picture living anywhere else. I want the girls to grow up here.”
The Sisneroses are also looking forward to the having a place to hang their hat.
“When you’re renting, things change all the time,” Natalia said. “Now, the school Ty starts at is going be the school he’s going to.”
Both families have already learned a lot about what Habitat is and isn’t.
“It’s not just giving a free house to somebody, it’s working toward a home,” Zane said.
“We have to do classes. We have to do a down payment and a mortgage. We’re investing in a home,” Kristina explained.
Fundraising, ReStore sales and volunteer hours help keep the mortgage costs under half of what they’d be on the open market, but it still takes commitment to qualify.
“We want people who have the need and are also ready to take on the extra responsibility,” Gilbert said. “Habitat in the Roaring Fork Valley has evolved to families that need a hand up, not a hand out. For the most part, they’re working full time in a job which can’t support the dream of homeownership.”
The families are also expected to assist in the construction of their own homes.
Zane, who has some experience in construction, is looking forward to it.
“I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty. I miss the pride of building something well,” he said. “How many people actually get the opportunity to work on and live in a new home?”
Both families expressed a desire to continue being involved with Habitat even after their homes are built.
“The reason this all works is a group of people who give so much of their time and effort and energy. That’s the foundation of this great program,” Zane added. “They’re doing it for the right reasons, and there’s nothing better than that.”
“No matter what size the house is it’s bigger than it looks, because the amount of people who put love into it puts the sentimental value through the roof,” he said.
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