Work, Live and Create Community: Habitat for Humanity’s Work-Live Project in Cully

Lizet Molina is thrilled that she will have a safe, stable home at Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East’s Helensview community in Cully. As she says “as a single mom, to be able to have a stable place for my son is a great starting point for both of us, my dream is for us to be in our new home for many years so he can make friends and stay in the same school.”

Lizet applied to Habitat’s program in a unique position: first as a future homeowner and then as a soon to be small business owner that will run her business out of a specially built Work-Live Habitat home at Helensview. Lizet graduated in early childhood development from Mt. Hood Community College and is now planning to open her own day-care out of her new home that was designed to fit her business.  As she shares “For me this (opening a business) is an adventure, a journey, I am excited to start and to see what I can contribute to the new community at Helensview. I want to give all of our kids a stable place to be, close to home.” There will be 21 new homes at Helensview, and many of the families have small children. Lizet will run her daycare as a bilingual program and plans to use a curriculum that really helps with emotional development. Her daycare will be open to kids of different ages and she says having multiple ages is a great way for kids to learn from each other. She will be able to accept DHS vouchers as an affordable option for families.

Habitat’s Work-Live model home at Helensview will be the first of its kind in Portland, but is based on a successful model that was developed by Habitat affiliates in other parts of the country. Habitat and other Living Cully partners saw this as a wonderful opportunity for Cully as there are great small business development partners in the neighborhood, including Hacienda CDC, that could work directly with community members to help develop their Work-Live businesses. In this case it will also provide great benefit to the neighborhood by increasing affordable high-quality childcare options which are limited in Cully. Habitat, with Living Cully support, hopes to be able to expand the Work-Live model to more homes in the future.

Meanwhile, Lizet is hard at work. She is partnering with Hacienda to take small business classes and develop a business plan. Lizet will be bringing more opportunity for affordable childcare to our neighborhood as well as her excitement for building community. As she says “I am very excited, this is a beautiful community and I am proud to be a part of it!”

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