In August of 2012, Compuware partnered with Habitat for Humanity Detroit to sponsor the building of a new house for a deserving family – just in time for the holidays. But our “Project: Welcome Home” family, the McQueens, turned out to be more than just deserving – they are inspiring.
To meet husband and father Orlando McQueen and wife and mother Kyomonique is to meet two optimistic, loving and hardworking parents determined to create a better future – especially for their two young boys, ages 3 and 1. Selected from more than 100 applicants, Orlando and Kyomonique both work for Henry Ford Health System – he as a Patient Mobility Assistant and she as a Certified Nursing Assistant. These are positions they recently acquired after completing healthcare degrees paid for with Orlando’s previous salary of $8 an hour.
“I’m still just in shock – and we’re so thankful to everyone,” said Kyomonique, with Orlando adding, “Having something to call our own is going to have a big impact on us and on our kids. We never thought we would be homeowners.” Prior to moving into the Project: Welcome Home house, the family was living in one bedroom in Kyomonique’s grandmother’s home, a three-bedroom house shared among seven family members and lacking a working furnace.
In addition to giving the family a fully furnished and warm place to live, the home also came to the McQueens mortgage-free for two years. This will help the family gain secure footing as first-time homeowners, and help with the family’s plans to have Orlando return to school in order to earn a degree in physical therapy.
“Having a house of our own is going to change our lives dramatically,” said Kyomonique. “Every time we drive by the house, our son points and says, ‘That’s my house!’ He’s so excited. It brings joy to my heart to know that.”
As new Habitat for Humanity Detroit Family Partners, the McQueens worked diligently to complete Habitat’s homeownership program requirements. As part of the program, Orlando and Kyomonique attended financial literacy classes and completed “sweat equity” hours while working on the construction of their new home and the homes of their new neighbors. You can see pictures from volunteer events that brought together the McQueen family and more than 100 Compuware employee volunteers. Photos include construction of walls for a Habitat house, the family on Compuware’s America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float, and the McQueen’s move-in day.
And please visit the iWish4Detroit video page to see how the house and the project came together leading up to the McQueens' move-in day on December 20, 2012.