Ariell Burgess is a single mother of three who moved from Clemson, SC, five years ago to start a new life for her family. She didn’t take homeownership seriously until about six months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That was an eye-opener,” she said. “I wanted to get serious about owning a home for my future and my kids.”

Her grandmother told her to apply for Dorchester Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program. She was shocked at the number of resources and people willing to help her through the process.

“I’ve been so doubtful about ever owning a home before this because of the money,” she said. “This program is for people like me who can’t do it alone or as a single parent.”

Ariell currently lives in an apartment in North Charleston, where her car is periodically broken into, and two shootings have occurred recently in her complex.

“One was the night before I was accepted into this program,” she recalled. “Bullets were aimed toward my kid’s bedroom window, so I called them all over to me.”

In June 2020, Ariell started repairing her credit; for many days, she wanted to give up and quit.

“I felt like there was a voice in my head telling me to keep going,” she said.

As a child, Ariell grew up in homes with the ability to play outside unsupervised. She wants her children (ages three, five, and seven) to have the same experience with a backyard and privacy.

“This house holds endless opportunity, growth, and stability in all areas of our life,” she said. “I want my kids to know their mom worked hard to build them a home.”

Ariell is currently a customer service representative for Barclay’s Bank. She is working to be promoted to Subject Matter Expert in the call center. She is grateful for her help and support through the homeownership application process.

“I can’t believe there are people who want to help me,” she said. “I love meeting with everyone who is part of the process-helping, families who deserve it and understand the cost of living.”

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