Habitat for Humanity brings West Orange family home for the holidays
Thanks to the organization, a mother and daughter are settling in for a better future.
| 10:53 a.m. November 23, 2021
West Orange Times & Observer
Two-year-old Amiyah Kinscy has the run of the house.
Her mom, Natalie, can barely keep up as potted plants are rearranged and the kitchen becomes a playground. This typical slice of toddler life is far removed from the way the Kinscys began their year — and was made possible by West Orange Habitat for Humanity.
“I was the only parent working full-time and trying to hold the house down,” Natalie Kinscy said of the time she and Amiyah lived with Amiyah’s father.
The trio had been sharing a one-bedroom apartment on South Rio Grande Avenue, until Kinscy moved herself and Amiyah in with her parents, Angela and Raymond Kinscy, in 2020.
“My parents told me, ‘Let us help you start all over and get where you need to be,’” Natalie Kinscy said.
Not long after the move, she took another step toward starting over.
“I heard from family and friends who had Habitat homes,” she said. “I looked online and tried to find an area that is close to where I was living with my parents and started the process.”
“We ask applicants to come in and meet with our Family Selection committee,” West Orange Habitat for Humanity Communications Manager Nicole Campbell said. “They will go over the process and requirements with them in detail, and if everything looks good they would pay a one-time $30 application fee.”
Habitat homeowners have a mortgage that is no more than 30% of their income, with most paying anywhere from $500 to $700 monthly. And their mortgage is always interest free. Applicants must be unable to qualify for a mortgage through conventional means and reside in housing conditions which are either inadequate, unsafe, overcrowded, transitional or unaffordable. They also must have lived, or worked, in West Orange County for at least one year, show six months of verifiable income and meet a minimal credit score requirement.
“If they don’t meet that requirement, they’ll spend the next six months or a year focusing on building their credit,” Campbell said. “We have financial literacy classes for anyone who is accepted so they can learn how to manage their finances and keep their credit score up.”
Kinscy’s resolve for a better future was backed by the ultimate support system: her mother.
“I said, ‘This is your opportunity; it’s time for you to move on and plan a life for Amiyah now,” said Angela Kinscy.
She assisted with the application process and credit-building, watched Amaiya while Kinsey worked at Winter Park Day Nursery and even helped her daughter with a second job to help save for the future.
“We got up every Sunday to do Amazon runs to pay for the down payment, furniture and everything,” Angela Kinscy said.
Habitat for Humanity not only helped Natalie Kinscy achieve homeownership but also strengthened her community ties through partnership programs. Applicants earn “sweat equity” by assisting on home build sites, working in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and participating in fundraising activities.
“It felt good to connect and be networked with the community through Habitat,” Kinscy said. “I love doing construction, I love to volunteer at the ReStore — that’s one of my new hobbies — and to focus on helping other people.”
Kinscy received the keys to her new home in early November and continues moving forward with her new life. She is looking forward to earning her degree in early childhood development from Florida International University and hosting family and friends for her first Thanksgiving in her new home. But the little girl who currently controls the kitchen is the focus of Kinscy’s greatest joy.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of my life,” she said. “Especially for Amiyah to be raised in a house where she’s safe and she’s comfortable, and in a home where she can grow up.”