Finding a rental house is challenging enough. As a newly single dad, with kids and pets in the equation, Justin Hawkins found securing a home almost impossible. After going through a divorce resulting in a short sale during the Great Recession, and mounting medical bills due to a rare, ongoing health condition, Justin wanted nothing more than to give his two young daughters stability and a place to call home.

“First Story gave us security and stress relief,” Justin said. “I didn’t know what the future held and it seemed like every time I started saving money for a down payment, a transmission would go out or I’d end up in the hospital. This was a way for my two girls, our dog, and me to live with a nice roof over our heads.”

And Justin’s story – which started in 2014 – is now entering a new chapter with the sale of his home back to First Story. Nearly a decade after battling uncertainty, Justin and his girls are back on their feet, thriving, and looking towards the future. Justin is now engaged, and with the wealth built through homeownership is able to move onto a home that will accommodate his new blended family. Meanwhile, Justin’s home has entered First Story’s Fresh Start program to provide a prologue for a new family that needs a place to land. The Fresh Start program will fully refurbish and update the home through a partnership with Simplicity Homes, making it ready for move-in this year.

Justin knows that as a Fresh Start, his First Story home will help the next family as much as it did his. “It’s been amazing for us,” he said.