Goebel family snug and warm in new home for new year
Knowing he won’t have to move anywhere else is the most important thing for Hunter Goebel as he settles into his family’s new Habitat for Humanity home in Little Falls.
“I love having my own room and my own bed,” said his big sister, Brianna.
Shannon Goebel and her children had been without a home for more than a year, after experiencing a carbon monoxide leak in the house they were renting.
“We were trying to stay with friends, but that didn’t work out,” said Shannon. “So we got a one-bedroom apartment for six months until the house was done.”
The Goebels’ home was dedicated in a ceremony Jan. 10, attended by volunteers who helped build the home, Habitat for Humanity board members, community members, friends and family.
The dedication included prayer by the Goebels’ pastor, Fr. Nick Landsberger. A presentation of the keys was made by Site Supervisor Dale Peterson, who also gave Shannon a tool bag. Habitat President Steve Twitchell presented the Goebels with a Bible.
“I love that Fr. Nick came to both the groundbreaking and the dedication,” Shannon said. “He’s been our pastor for so long; it meant a lot for him to be here for us.”
Prospective Habitat home owners must go through an assessment process to determine whether they qualify for housing based on income and need. They must also be able to repay their mortgage, which is offered with a 0 percent interest rate.
Once selected, homeowner families must also participate in the building process by putting in “sweat equity” hours working on the house, fundraising and/or helping in the Habitat office.
“I was surprised how time-consuming the sweat equity hours were,” Shannon said. “Of the 300 hours, 150 had to be done by me, while holding down a full time job. I sold some raffle tickets and other activities, but the best hours spent were at the house.”
While painting the walls was the most fun, varnishing the wood trim was the biggest headache.
“I never realized before how many pieces of trim work there are,” said Shannon.
The cabinets, countertops, light fixtures, paint colors and all the flooring were chosen by the Goebels.
Even though it’s difficult to pick just one thing that she loves most about the house, Shannon can settle on the kitchen.
“I love the kitchen,” she said. “I love to cook and bake, and now all of my kitchen stuff is here.”
The biggest difference in owning her own home is not having a manager to work with or talk to. “There is a bigger sense of freedom,” she said.
One night when a smoke alarm went off while Shannon was at work, she wondered who to call for help, then realized “Oh, yeah — I’m the homeowner,” she said.
Shannon was not expecting to find out how many kind-hearted people there are in the community.
“It still amazes me, all the support we had,” she said. “I always wondered why people were so selfish, but this Habitat house put me in my place.”
About two years ago, Shannon was told about Habitat by a homeowner, and advised that she should get her credit cleaned up.
“I decided to do it,” Shannon said. “I knew I had to do it myself. I used my tax refund and cleaned up all my debts.”
It was shortly after that she saw an ad for Habitat in the Record.
“Every step I took led me here, even though it didn’t make sense at the time,” Shannon said. “I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I have a lot more hope — more of a sense that everything is going to be OK.”
“I just tried to make it day by day,” she said. “The biggest thing I wanted in my life was to give my kids a stable home that was safe and clean. My life revolves around giving them the life they need.”
It has been a relief to see the changes in her children.
“The kids’ spirits have been lifted a lot,” said Shannon. “I didn’t realize just how miserable they were until we moved in here and saw the difference.”
The Goebels have found another delight to being in their new home — “even the dogs are happier here,” they said. “They love the carpet.”