Single Mother Who Escaped Neighborhood Violence Now Enjoys Home Ownership With New Habitat for Humanity Home in Hamilton Township, NJ

New home is a dream come true for woman and her family

June 11, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Ruthann Tarver, newly of Hamilton Township, is the latest recipient of a home built and provided by Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties. As a teenage mother struggling to raise her children, Tarver dreamed of one day owning her own home. Her homeownership journey led her to securing a job with the state of New Jersey and eventually to Habitat BMC for financial education courses before applying to the Homeownership Program.

Perhaps the primary impetus for this journey was the need for somewhere safe for her family to live, as gun violence was highly prevalent right outside the doors of her prior residences.

“In our past apartments, it was getting more violent,” Tarver said. “Our family witnessed things we shouldn’t have witnessed.”

A “safe home” being of the utmost importance, Tarver made the brave decision to remove her family from that situation. She secured a good job with the state of New Jersey, but still knew that her credit could potentially be an obstacle in purchasing a home. So she enrolled in Habitat’s financial education courses before even applying to the Homeowners Program. Once in the program, Tarver wound up eventually co-teaching financial workshops and exceeding her sweat equity requirement (250 hours), where she learned skills such as painting houses to installing microwave ovens.

“This is a great community and provides better education,” said Tarver. “It’s a lot of work and a process, but you have to be patient and be willing to do it,” said Tarver. “There’s a lot to be learned. … Now I can teach my boys the value of owning.”

After completing the program and through the support of Habitat’s donors, Tarver was able to purchase a beautiful 3-bedroom, 2-bath home with an affordable mortgage. She was presented the key to her new Hamilton Township home by Mayor Jeff Martin, who welcomed her and one of her sons to Hamilton, and thanked Habitat and its supporters.

“I want to thank Habitat for Humanity and their volunteers and supporters for all the work they’ve done to make a new home ready for one of our Hamilton families to move into,” Mayor Martin said. “This is a great partnership between Hamilton, Habitat and all of their supporters to make sure our families here in Hamilton have a safe place to live and a home for many years to come.”

The Tarver’s home was also blessed via a Zoom call with Dr. Joseph E. Woods, pastor of St. Phillips Baptist Church in Hamilton, followed by a presentation of gifts by the Habitat for Humanity Homeowner Services Department, which included Family Services Director Deserie Hill, Homeownership Coordinator Taquana Wright, and Mortgage Specialist Rob Brandt.

Tarver’s new single-story home has hardwood floors, a gorgeous kitchen,  tons of storage space, and an extra bedroom that will be used as a TV-and-game room for one of her sons.

“This home is just one piece of Habitat’s investment in Hamilton, and we’re so excited for Ruthann and her kids to experience this wonderful community that we’ve gotten to be a part of,” said Lori Leonard, CEO of Habitat BMC. “Believe it or not, this is our third home dedication in Hamilton in two months.”

Tarver, who was clearly moved by the events of the day and her family’s new life, ended the housewarming with this: “Our new house will be a great relief to my son, he’ll get a better education … and we’re just looking forward to the best.”

This is an update to the May 26, 2021 story posted on MidJersey.News to read the previous story click here: Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties and Benebone Partner to Build Affordable Home in Ewing, NJ