What’s it like to rent from Emmanuel House?

In February and March, we’re introducing you to families who are partnering with Emmanuel House – and with you – in their journey toward home ownership. In this series we’re calling “Finding Home,” you’ll meet people at four different stages of the journey: One still waiting for a place in our Networked Saving program, one currently living and saving at an Emmanuel House property, one who recently purchased their own home, and one several years out of the program and reaping the long-term benefits.

For the Zamudio family, togetherness means one hour every day.

Eduardo and Crystal arrive home in separate cars with a cluster of boys from after-school activities, and their Aurora apartment lights up with life and fluorescent light. It’s 4:30pm – the single hour in the day when Crystal and Eduardo’s schedules overlap.

Crystal is settling in after a long day at her job as a customer service representative. Eduardo is preparing to leave for the night-shift janitor position he’s held for 22 years. For this one window of time, they’re all together.

As their 5 boys gather around the dinner table, Crystal dishes out the braised beef and macaroni that her husband prepared earlier. She fills a Tupperware for Eduardo’s midnight “lunch” while discussing the boys’ schedule for the night. Eduardo packs his bag while the boys watch out the window for his carpool ride. Then, Crystal and Eduardo shuffle downstairs and kiss one another goodbye.

Crystal checks the mail as she watches the taillights disappear, then she returns upstairs. It’s time to drive her high-school boys to a Quinceanera dance practice.

The Zamudios make this look easy. They make grueling schedules, busy jobs, and five boys living in a 700-square-foot apartment blend together seamlessly. But it takes skillful teamwork and tireless dedication.

And, despite this hard work, the Zamudios have been unable to gain the financial momentum they need to buy a house. Until recently.

The family joined the Emmanuel House Network in August 2016. Now, with the support of donors, church partners and investors, their hard work is turning into something tangible: Savings for a down payment on a home.

It takes about 20 people, each giving $20 a month, for the Emmanuel House network to be able to help one family like the Zamudios begin to save. And when a family like theirs owns a home, the cycle of poverty is broken. Assets develop. Neighborhoods stabilize. Children have greater success in school. Entire communities improve.

And we all benefit.

Because of your support this year, the trajectory of this family’s life has changed forever. And – whether or not you sense it – yours has, too.

Lissa Chleboun
Program Director