One family’s story of their “forever home”

Sarah A. and her family have lived in a home in the Karuk Homes #1 development for about 15 months. I recently had the opportunity to meet residents of the Karuk Homes I development and learn more about what the home means to Sarah, her husband, Paul, and their children: Alyssa, 12, Sophia, 10, and Vinny, 7.

Sarah and her family are the reasons why tribal housing authorities like Karuk Tribe Housing Authority and our Travois staff work so hard to create affordable housing in Indian Country. (You may have seen her beautiful family portraits in my last blog post. Read more here.)

Here’s our Q&A, edited for length and clarity:

Q: Where did you live before you moved into this home?

A: For almost 18 years, I’ve lived on the reservation. In 2000, I moved into housing and I started out living in an apartment with my cousin. And in 2002, I got my first lease-to-purchase house with my husband, and it was a two-bedroom house. I wasn’t thinking about family or anything at that time, I was just excited to get a house.

In 2010 we actually got a four-bedroom house and that would be enough to fit my family. Then in September of 2016, we moved into our new house.

Prior, we were living in a lease-to-own down the road, so we didn’t have far to move.

Q: What do you like about living in this house?

A: I love the location of our house. The views are just beautiful. You can walk out and look any which way and see everything, and it’s just so, so pretty.

I wrote down a couple of things that my kids like:

  • Vinny, he loves the fireplace (wood stove), and he loves having fires built.
  • Sophia loves the kitchen. She loves to cook in it, and her favorite thing to cook is pancakes.
  • And Alyssa’s favorite part is the view that we have here. She loves to go outside and look around and see all the beautiful things. We have deer and squirrels running around. Just walking around every day, it’s good for the kids.

My in-laws, when they come up, they’re just in awe of everything: how quiet it is and how nice everything is. They love coming up here because they’re from the Bay Area. They saw a deer once and they were like “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” And we see that deer every day!

Q: How has living in this house changed your life?

A: Getting this house was a blessing. When we were in lease-to-purchase, my husband was laid off, and this house gave us a chance to get in a home ownership [option] that we could afford. It was perfect timing, and it was wonderful.

Q: What has changed for the better since you moved in?

A: A good change that has happened is that my kids changed schools. They were having a hard time at the school here, so we decided to put them in a different school. It’s not closer to here, but since we moved, we wanted a fresh start. And now they’re doing great! Their grades have gone up, and they love their new school, so that’s a good thing that has come out of moving to our new home.

Q: What is important to your family?

A: We love playing sports! My two girls played volleyball this year, and now they are playing basketball and cheerleading. In the springtime, my son will play baseball. We also like to bowl. We like to do all sorts of sports stuff.

Q: What do you hope for your future and your children’s future?

A: I hope my kids keep improving, and maybe one day when they grow up, they might get the same opportunity we had at getting their own home. This is our forever home, the home my husband and I will grow old in.

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