Following in Her Footsteps

Odalis Avila says she follows her sister Florinda everywhere. Whether it was in their home country of Honduras, or from Honduras to New Orleans, Odalis always wanted to be near her sister. Now, she hopes to follow in Florinda’s footsteps by becoming a Habitat homeowner.

Florinda applied after being referred by her employer. With the help of Odalis and others, she received the key to her home on America Street in New Orleans East in June of 2016.

Prior to moving into their new home, Florinda said her two children shared a room in their small apartment. The times were difficult, but with encouragement from her sister, she was able to press forward.

Now, Florinda’s children each have their own rooms, they’ve become best friends with the family that lives across the street, and they’re helping make the same dream come true for Odalis.

“My sister is a role model for me,” said Odalis. “She kept telling me to go to Habitat, so I could buy a house just like her. I was approved right away thanks to her help. We’ve always been close, and now our relationship is even better.”

Florinda knows that Odalis can achieve any goal, no matter the challenges; she worked her sweat equity hours while working at a hotel and raising a 16 year old daughter.

“I admire my sister,” said Florinda. “She’s very strong. She doesn’t depend on anyone. Whenever she wants something she sets her mind on it and she does it.”

Florinda knows homeownership will change her sister’s life: “I was paying $1000 a month at this awful apartment before. Now I can still afford to pay for my home, and we get to have three bedrooms.”