Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Orozco Valencia Family

Magdalena “Maggie” Orozco came to the United States from Mexico when she was a young woman. She met the man who would become her husband, got married, and the couple settled in the Pasco, Washington, area. Sadly, the marriage didn’t last. Before Maggie and her husband were divorced they had three children. Today, Maggie is a single mother and the sole provider for her children. Approximately 12 million households in American are headed by a single parent. Of those, more than 75 percent are headed by single mothers.

Maggie relocated to the Bellingham area to be near her brother and his family, a move she made to feel less alone. Isolation and loneliness make life even harder for struggling single-parent families. Times of stress are when families need the social support of a wider network in order to stay healthy and engaged in life, especially for school-aged children. However, not long after Maggie arrived, her brother moved out of the area, leaving her alone again. Lacking a ready-made support network in Bellingham, Maggie assembled a “found” family, a small network of friends who have recognized how hard she works to keep her family together.

Still, it’s been hard for Maggie and her children. She works a minimum of two jobs at any one time, more jobs if she can find them, for income she badly needs to pay her bills and keep up with her rent. She has a “regular” job working in manufacturing, and she’s also taken part-time jobs at fast-food restaurants. Her days are filled.

All her children are involved in extra-curricular school and sports activities, something Maggie encourages so that they can experience greater stability and routine.

Even with the family’s tight schedule, and while working multiple jobs, Maggie and her daughter found time to work at the Habitat Store for their sweat-equity hours for their new home. They’ve now completed their hours and chosen their Telegraph home, part of Phase 1 of the development now underway.

“The joy I feel is overwhelming,” Maggie added. “I never thought I’d be able to get a home. I’m so grateful to Habitat because as a single mom having my own home was never going to be a possibility.”

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