Most homeowners have a favorite part about where they live. It could be the location, a reading nook or a front porch. But for Conswala, her favorite thing about her soon-to-be new home is simple.

“It’s mine, and that’s the best thing about it,” Conswala said.

Conswala is a native Nashvillian who grew up at MDHA’s J. Henry Hale Apartments. She has fond memories of her childhood in the community, so much so that she decided to return as an adult to raise her daughters.

“I’m grateful for MDHA because it provided me and my siblings with everything that we needed to go out and do great things,” she said. “It definitely has made me who I am.”

But, doors are opening for Conswala. In just a few short weeks, Conswala and her girls will move into her brand-new home that she owns thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville’s homeownership program.

“You always want the best for your kids,” she said. “Living at J. Henry Hale Apartments has been a steppingstone to what’s next.”

While it may feel unusual to be leaving the neighborhood her – and her children – have grown up in, Conswala is counting down the days to the next chapter.

“I’m excited. I’m anxious. I’m nervous. I’m all of those things bundled up into one,” Conswala said. “Homeownership has been one of my dreams.”

“I’m excited. I’m anxious. I’m nervous. I’m all of those things bundled up into one,” Conswala said. “Homeownership has been one of my dreams.”

Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville

While homeownership may have been a dream, achieving it was anything but restful. During the months-long journey with Habitat, Conswala took many classes on topics ranging from budgeting to home repairs to insurance and even put in hours of sweat equity at the construction site.

“I have the joy of saying what many people don’t – I actually built my home,” Conswala said. “This is my hard work, efforts and even sweat from hammering those nails into every inch of that house.”

In her new three-bedroom home, Conswala’s daughters will each have their own room and a yard to play.

“Every single day, they say, ‘Is the house ready yet? Is the house ready yet?’” Conswala recalled. “It fills me with joy to see them run in the backyard and play when we come by to check on progress.”

Growth inevitably comes with growing pains, but Conswala’s advice for others hoping to achieve a similar dream is to not be afraid to get started.

“Do it. And I know that’s easier said than done, but I was there. I can say that sometimes I’ve been complacent and that’s just because of fear, and fear will keep you where you are,” she said. “Keep pushing, and you’ll get there. It’s worth every bit of it.”

Amid the hustle and bustle of packing, paperwork and inspections over the past few weeks, Conswala paused outside of her home during the final walkthrough to take in her achievements.

“Sometimes, it still feels surreal – and a little overwhelming,” Conswala said. “My home is built on a foundation of my hard work and determination, and that’s what got my family where we are today.”