As we kick off our biggest year ever, we have been busy with the application process and eager to start welcoming new homeowners to the First Story family. We are elated to introduce you to, Kari Ann Wolff, our first homeowner selected in 2020!
Kari Ann and her children will join First Story, Hayden Homes and many of our valued partners to raise the first walls of their new home this coming May in Kennewick, Washington. “I can’t wait! It is going to be the best day ever” said Kari Ann recently.
Kari Ann’s journey to homeownership is both heartbreaking and groundbreaking. Forced to leave an abusive home at the vulnerable age of 14, she faced a decade on the streets fighting the crippling effects of a growing substance addiction. The years in and of homelessness were devastating, dangerous and isolating.
Kari Ann says that her comeback story starts eight years ago when she got clean and moved to the Tri-Cities. She got accepted into Goodwill’s WORKFIRST Program that provides job training and placement opportunities. Goodwill was so impressed by her that they offered her a permanent job and a new beginning. Today, she spends her time driving a forklift in their Pasco warehouse.
The road to owning a home has been a slow and difficult journey. The family of now six started in a one-bedroom apartment. After years of hard work and saving Kari Ann moved the family into a three-bedroom apartment. She had already overcome so much, but homeownership was something she never dared to dream about. But, with the incredible encouragement from her ‘family’ at Goodwill, last year she began to hope that someday she would provide a ‘real’ home for her children.
Kari Ann learned about First Story from a co-worker. Although hesitant that she would qualify for a home, she submitted an application. The day she found out that she was going to be a First Story homeowner is a day she will never forget. “I walked into the breakroom at work and found all of my friends and coworkers gathered, cheering, with huge smiles and bright green balloons.” She immediately knew what it meant, but still found it hard to believe. “I never imagined someone like me would be chosen for something like this.”
Her three boys are grown and no longer living with her, but Kari Ann feels like she is finally the parent that all of her children can be proud of. She may be finally seeing what everyone else already sees – that she is an incredible rock star that defied the statistics of addiction and homelessness.
Like all First Story homeowners, this opportunity has not been handed to her, she earned it! Cheers to Kari Ann, our first homeowner of 2020, you make us #HomeProud!