SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A single mother and her two children, one of whom has autism, have been given a three-bedroom home in Poplar Grove thanks to the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity and its volunteers.

The family immigrated to Utah from Ethiopia when the mother’s first son was 3 months old. The mother is raising both boys, the oldest of whom has autism, and working as a certified nurse aide in the Salt Lake Valley. On Tuesday, she was given the keys to her brand-new home.

Ed Blake, the CEO of Salt Lake Habitat for Humanity, spoke of the mother’s journey, saying she came to Utah when “she didn’t know a word of English.”

“She said that the Salt Lake Community taught her English,” Blake said. “She has a love for Salt Lake City just because she said the community was so kind to her when she struggled to speak the language.”

  • a woman receives the keys to her knew home by the CEO.
  • a family poses in front of building showing off the keys to a new home.
  • a mother stands with her two sons in a doorway
  • the kitchen of the new white home
  • a new white home with balloons

Before receiving her new home, she said her boys slept in the same room with her, which caused conflict when her oldest son would wake up her younger son at dawn. She told Blake she never imagined her sons could have their own rooms one day.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for families in need. The charity builds the homes with help from volunteers.

The homes, however, are not given for free to those in need. There is a set of requirements that the future homeowner must complete, including hundreds of sweat equity hours, which includes participating in the building of the home and taking educational classes on finance and homeownership.

The new residents, who are required to be U.S. citizens or under permanent resident status, are then required to pay a 30-year mortgage at 0% interest. In this family’s case, the monthly payment is less than their previous rent.

Habitat for Humanity says the mortgage payments make it possible to build homes for others in the future.

“It’s a touchdown for us, to put someone as kind and sweet as she is into a home with her two children,” Blake said. “She’s a nurse she takes care of people all day long, and Habitat was very happy to take care of her today.”