Two Hearts, One Home – Brian and Gina’s Story

All it took was one, brief phone call for Gina Roose’s world to start crumbling out from underneath her. For months, Gina had been sharing a decent little apartment in Oroville with an individual who time and time again took her kindness for weakness. Every day felt like a balancing act, and whenever Gina asked for the simplest of favors, she was met with an onslaught of pushbacks. Without a vehicle of her own, Gina relied on her roommate for rides to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, and other essential places. In return, her roommate demanded a hefty sum of Gina’s social security income to pay for all of the “gas money” despite them driving just a few blocks around town. With no other option at that time, Gina complied and kept pouring out tons of money for a car that wasn’t hers. However, Gina’s income did not last forever and as soon as the money ran out, the roommate wasted no time in giving her a call to tell her she could not come home. 

“I felt scared, uncertain, and I felt…lost. Cause I didn’t know what I was going to do on the streets.” Gina said.

 For Gina, the future looked like a looming dark cloud getting ready to storm on her chance at a stable life. Fears of being alone and death raced through Gina’s mind as she prepared for an uncertain fate out on the streets. That was until a familiar face came along to lift her out of the pit of despair she was rapidly falling into. Brian Johnson, a longtime friend of Gina’s had told her about Habitat for Humanity’s Harmony Village and asked if she would be interested in moving in there with him. 

“I wasn’t going to let Gina be homeless, I care too much about her” Brian said. 

An overwhelming amount of relief rushed over Gina as she gladly took Brian up on his offer. In a matter of moments, Gina packed up her belongings, booked a cab to Harmony Village, and, with Brian’s support, signed a lease to her new home.   

Like Gina, Brian had moved to Harmony Village after coming face to face with the reality of being homeless. For years, after escaping some deep-rooted family turmoil, Brian was staying with a kindhearted man in a quaint little home in Marysville. Brian learned a lot from that man including the power of forgiveness and compassion, both of which he had not received much of growing up.  

“He gave me a shot when no one else would, and I am forever grateful for that” Brian said. 

It was not the home Brian would miss the most, but the friendship he had forged when he realized the man he was staying with for so long had suddenly passed away from cancer. With nowhere else to go, Brian stumbled upon the Salvation Army’s Buddy House and stayed there for the next 9 months. While he was grateful for his newly found shelter, Brian found himself surrounded by a sea of recovering addicts, and desired a different environment to start putting the rails of his life back on track. That’s when Brian saw a flyer for Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter and decided to reach out for help. Within a few months of applying, Brian got approved for an apartment in Harmony Village and was finally able to start the life he had always dreamed of. 

For Brian and Gina, Harmony Village served as a valuable stepping stone to guide them on the right path. Though both enjoyed the friendly community, secure space, and financial stability that Harmony Village provided, as Brian and Gina’s relationship continued to grow stronger, so did their ambitions. Thus, when they received the news about a new property opening up in Live Oak, the two jumped on the opportunity.

Due to their outstanding behavior, willingness to help those around them, and incredible personal growth that they had both showcased while at Harmony Village, Brian and Gina got approved for an affordable housing duplex in Habitat’s brand new Oak Haven development. The two are overjoyed and blessed to not only have a home they can call their own, but to have a prosperous life they can share with one another. As they settle into their new home, Brian and Gina expressed their gratitude towards everyone at Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter for supporting them along their journey.  

“I want everyone to realize that this is not a bad organization, and that Habitat won’t ever steer anyone wrong.” Brian emphasized. 

“They’ve helped us out so much and we are just so blessed to have this place.” Gina added. 

All of that fear and uncertainty weighing on Brian and Gina’s mind is now far behind them. With their newfound space, Brian is excited to start focusing on his passion for music, improving his own health and getting a playmate for his dog, Buddy. On the other hand, Gina is hoping that having this source of stability in her life will help rekindle a connection with her children.   

Brian and Gina are truly a remarkable display of how compassion, resilience, and desire to do better get rewarded. Through sheer determination, they worked their way up the ladder from both being at risk of being homeless, to being approved for an affordable apartment complex, and to now having a brand new home to call their own. Brian not only found shelter, but a place where he can finally look forward to the future rather than being haunted by his past. For Gina, her newfound independence and daily encouragement from Brian has helped her realize her own self-worth, something she says she didn’t know she needed until now.  


As they both embrace their future with open hearts, Brian and Gina are inspired to give back as much kindness and support as they have received from everyone who helped them get to where they are today. Our team at Habitat is so incredibly proud and inspired by their accomplishments and we hope everyone reading this joins us in wishing them a world of happiness as they embark on this new, exciting chapter in their lives. Welcome home, Brian and Gina!

Habitat for Humanity Yuba-Sutter