I moved to Moab in 2005. Within weeks, I was in love with the place and the community. I felt like I had come home. I wanted to stay. I found that I had a passion for teaching and settled into a rewarding (although low-paying) role as an educator in this wonderful town.
For a handful of years, I was fortunate enough to be able to rent a small, 250 square foot house from a friend, and when rent and housing prices started to go up, I was unaffected for the most part. But then, the house I was renting started to have problems: it was old and poorly constructed (including not having a foundation) and it was clear that it would need major reconstruction. I started looking for other housing, but rent had gone up so much as to be unreasonable on my salary. Owning a home seemed unbelievably unattainable, even though everyone told me that if I wanted to stay here long-term, that was what I should do. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay here, especially if something major went wrong with the house I was living in.
Then I heard about Community Rebuilds.
It was, in my view, the perfect solution: environmentally conscious, community oriented, affordable. When I first looked into the program, it didn’t seem like a good fit because I didn’t own the place I lived in that was falling apart and I had a very large student loan debt that prevented me from qualifying. I spent a couple of years paying down the student loan, and Community Rebuilds started helping people by getting the land needed to build their homes.
I finally qualified and participated in the program during the first half of 2019. There really are no words for the amazingness of the experience: participating in the growth of a home alongside close to two dozen volunteers from around the country who actively dove into our community while they were here.
I am so grateful that I finally have a house here in this place that I have considered home for nearly 15 years. I am so grateful that I am living in a house that was built with love and care for the world with sustainable techniques and materials by people who are passionate about building not just houses, but also communities. I am so grateful that I live in a neighborhood surrounded by the families I teach and care about. And I am so grateful that I now get to call this beautiful place home for good.