Building Lasting Bonds – Barbara and Tracy’s Story

Two women in habitat for humanity t-shirts standing in an office with a bulletin board and a flag in the background.

The strongest friendships can arise in the unlikeliest of places, which was exactly the case for Barbara and Tracy when they suddenly found themselves without a place to call home.

Tracy’s story begins three years ago, on the comforting grounds of her family-owned property. With roots reaching back to 1856, Tracy’s home was not just a roof over her head, but a cherished piece of her family’s legacy. Her childhood memories, ambitions, and sense of belonging all resided within those walls. For Tracy, this was always her home, and it was unimaginable to envision life anywhere else. That was until her mother had passed away, leaving the property rights in the hands of Tracy’s brother, who ultimately decided it was time to sell their beloved family home. Despite Tracy’s reluctance, the decision had already been made, propelling her into a future full of uncertainty.

In just two months, Tracy was left with one choice: to pack up and leave the comfort, security, and safety of a home that was no longer hers. Finding a new place to live proved even more of a challenge, with the housing market having little to no options that Tracy could afford. As a result, Tracy had nowhere to turn but towards the generosity of her family, who let her sleep on their living room couches for the next several months. It wasn’t until July of 2022 when Tracy had heard of Habitat for Humanity and decided to reach out for help.

Around the same time that Tracy had lost her home, Barbara also found herself moving from couch to couch, but unlike Tracy, Barbara did not have the support of family. Instead, Barbara relied on friends, friends of friends, and acquaintances for help, constantly having to ask for a safe place to rest her head. This went on for months until one unforgettable moment that forced Barbara to reconsider her situation.

While she was residing with a family who graciously took her in, one individual suddenly came down with a nasty cold which rapidly spread to everyone else in the home, including Barbara. After taking an at-home test, the results showed that it was not just a cold plaguing the family, but a case of the COVID-19 virus. Panicked by the unknown consequences of COVID at the time, the family acted in the only way they knew how to deal with a viral pandemic: quarantining themselves and asking Barbara to leave.

With nowhere to call home, nothing to call hers, and a brutal illness to now cope with, Barbara looked towards the Life Building Center for help. During her first visit, she was initially surprised because for the first time in a long time, she was greeted with open arms, warm smiles, and kind hearts ready to help in any way that they could. That day marked the start of Barbara’s journey through the coordinated entry program and arrangements were quickly made to get Barbara the medical assistance she so desperately needed. Thanks to the staff’s urgency in handling Barbara’s situation, she was able to make a full recovery and more.

“When I got COVID, I thought that was it, that I was going to die. I nearly did.” Barbara said.

Getting over her illness was not the only thing Barbara gained from the Life Building Center, as she also found an unlikely friendship. Although they bickered from time-to-time, Barbara quickly bonded with her bunkmate, Tracy, as the two shared jokes, stories, and hardships with one another. Despite their clashing personalities, both respected each other for their strength, courage, and resilience that it took to endure the type of journey they had each been on. Now at the Life Building Center, Barbara and Tracy had access to food, bedding, showers, educational programs,

occupational assistance, and other resources to help get them back on their feet.

Their strength and determination to better their lives soon paid off because just two months later Barbara and Tracy found employment. Thanks to the occupational assistance they received from the Life Building Center, the financial assistance they gained from AARP, and the ongoing support they gave one another, Barbara and Tracy were able to both land jobs at Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter. That is not the end to their shared successes however, because just two months after clocking into their new jobs, Barbara and Tracy were both approved for affordable housing units in Prosperity Village, where each of them finally found a space to call their own.

No more couch surfing, no more worrying, and no more uncertainty for Barbara and Tracy.


Instead, the two friends are very appreciative to be living as next-door neighbors and to be working with the same people that helped transform their lives. Today, Barbara and Tracy carpool to work where Barbara helps price and stock merchandise in the ReStore while Tracy works as an office assistant in our Family Services department, now helping guide others towards the path of homeownership.

“Working with Habitat, I love all the people here. It really feels like I’ve gained a new family.” Tracy said.

It’s full circle stories like these that truly bring the weight of our work into perspective. Habitat for Humanity is not just about housing families in need, we are about bringing people back into the community to remind them that they are needed. As Barbara and Tracy proved, a little ounce of compassion can go a long way. We are so incredibly proud of the strides that Barbara and Tracy have made, and we are tremendously grateful to have them as part of our Habitat family. Thank you, Barbara and Tracy for inspiring us each and every day!

Habitat for Humanity Yuba-Sutter