Janell Reyes is a future homeowner currently working to build a home for herself all while holding a full time job and obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from the College of Charleston.

Originally from the Bronx in New York, she moved to the area during Covid when living conditions in New York became uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous. Her sister has lived in Goose Creek for many years so Summerville became a good fit for Janell. Her first job here was as preschool teacher at St. Luke’s where she met Habitat homeowner Michele Scibetta who told her about the homeownership program.

“I know it’s considered the ‘American Dream’ to own a home and I am a first generation college attendee and the first in my family to work towards owning a home,” she said. “I didn’t have the basic knowledge of how to apply for a mortgage so Habitat’s program was a good place to start.”

Janell grew up moving usually once per year in New York and always renting so she is looking forward to having a place that all to herself. She has built a lot of confidence building on the construction site and she has learned a lot about her credit and what factors go into it since starting the homeownership program.

           “The most challenging aspect has been time management for myself,” she shared. “Meeting my sweat equity hours in the program while keeping up with school and having the energy to help kids at my job are all priorities.”

Janell is a high school mentor and advocate at the Lowcountry Acceleration Academy in North Charleston. The public charter school is for non-traditional students who may have struggled in other schools to receive additional assistance and teaching. Janell says the best aspect of her job are the relationships she gets to build with her students.

“Seeing their overall growth as a person gives me a lot of pride and joy,” she said. “Seeing them move to the next big thing is my favorite part.”

With her degree in Public Health, Janell hopes to work in the health promotion industry educating the community about illness prevention and ways to stay healthy. Her favorite aspect of the homeownership program has been how diverse the applicants are and how much she has learned throughout the process.

 “I’m appreciative of the opportunity to learn all I need to know about my future mortgage, down payments and insurance,” she said. “It’s not as easy to buy a home as it once was so I’m thankful this program allows me to do that.”

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