The Kinsch Family
Throughout most of her adult life, Mindie Kinsch has lived in public housing. Mindie has a serious and rare health condition that limits the range of motion in her arms and she is only able to work part-time. This has made it a challenge to support her son Davie, now three years old, and impacted her access to a stable income and affordable housing.
Prior to applying for a home with Topeka Habitat, Mindie lived in a small public housing space on the east side of Topeka. Davie was just a baby, and the home was Mindie's worst nightmare. The outside was dirty, the apartments were all connected, the streets were narrow, and the crime rate was very high. The landlord conducted regular, unannounced inspections which weren't included in Mindie’s lease contract, and in doing so, often woke up a sleeping baby Davie. The apartment was so tiny that in addition to paying her subsidized rent, she had to pay an extra $80 for a storage space to keep all of her belongings. The moment Mindie knew she had to find a better home for Davie was the day she heard shots ring through her neighbor's apartment. Hearing gunshots had become a “normal thing” but they had never been in such close proximity.
Mindie began searching for better housing options. After learning about Topeka Habitat for Humanity from her housing advocate, and with her mother’s encouragement, Mindie applied to be a homeowner. She started taking financial training classes and working in the Topeka Habitat ReStore to earn “sweat equity” hours. Mindie was not accepted to Topeka Habitat the first time she applied and was prepared to “go back and try again” when she received news that the owner of an existing home that was to be donated to Topeka Habitat for Humanity had sadly just passed away. The home could be Mindie’s if she completed her "sweat equity" hours and some additional financial management classes.
Topeka Habitat set about updating the house and Mindie happily picked out paint colors and finishes to make the house a home for her family. Mindie’s 64-year-old mother Debbie also lives in the home, and so does a black Labrador Retriever (a former service dog) and a chihuahua. “I love my family,” Mindie said, “and it’s not often that three generations of a family get to happily share a home. We have a great relationship and it’s a family tradition. We’re really lucky.” Mindie also marvels at the fact that her mortgage is $500 a month for her entire “big house.” She had been paying $530 a month in her cramped and unsafe public housing space.
The kitchen quickly became Mindie’s favorite part of her home. Mindie spends a lot of time in the kitchen every day. It’s big, has lots of storage space, and a pantry. She likes to make cakes and when the smell of cake baking fills her home she can’t help but smile. “This house is my dream come true.”
Going from public housing to her very own home was an experience for which Mindie will forever be grateful. Her son now has a home that he can call his own—they even nicknamed the house "Davie’s House." It took almost a year for Mindie to complete the initial application and complete her sweat equity and training class requirements, and although the process of moving into and receiving her home was much quicker than what typically happens, she feels as attached to her house as any homeowner.
Topeka Habitat for Humanity helped Mindie realize her dreams and gave her hope for a better future. “Habitat homeownership is a long process,” Mindie said, “but don't give up. All the work is worth it."