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Homeowner Stories: The Canelos Family

Persistence and enthusiasm have been Hazzell's hallmarks as she struggled to get beyond a childhood spent in foster homes and feeling like a nomad. Her journey has been a tough one, but she will soon have the stability of owning a home through Habitat for Humanity. She has always worked hard as an adult, working two to three seasonal jobs at a time because she wanted to live and work in the mountain foothills. But when Hazzell got pregnant with her son Titus - now 2 and a half - and decided to leave a toxic relationship, she needed help. She found it at the local women's shelter where she stayed until her son was born. While there she gained job skills and got her GED.

Hazzell now has steady work cleaning homes and commercial properties while occasionally doing food service work at a local golf club. She also sells her homemade salsa. While her job situation has improved, her housing is still a challenge. She lives in a too-small cabin meant for summer vacationers and spends much of her income keeping a roof over her head. But that's changing. "I saw a sign at the grocery store for Habitat. and felt like it was a God moment. I feel so blessed to have found Habitat".

Growing up in foster care, she has always longed for a home and stability, especially now that she has her son Titus whom she calls her "miracle child". More than anything, she wants to raise Titus "in a stable, warm atmosphere so that he has a bright future and grows into a healthy, successful man". When asked how Habitat will impact her life, she said, "I want to do more with my life and Habitat has given me the encouragement to be more successful. And with the low house payment I'll have more time and money to spend time with my son". 

Hazzell is a busy and enthusiastic person. She gives back to the local shelter as a volunteer in addition to her jobs, cares for Titus and is putting in 250 hours of sweat equity. "I am so grateful to Habitat. They gave me the hope and faith to get ahead and never give up."

Her home will be built in Kittredge in 2012. It is sponsored by AU Denver (American Institute of Architects) and will feature an innovative and sustainable design as a result of the Blue Spruce Habitat design/build competition with AIA. 

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