“My Yard is a Ministry”

“My Yard is a Ministry”

Josephine Morris moved into her home in 1996 and has been there since. As a fixture on her block, Josephine advocates for a nice environment in their neighborhood. So, when it came time to fix the broken paving slab behind her house, she knew something had to be done. 

“My yard is a ministry. I give [my neighbors] food out of my garden. I praise the Lord out of my garden. Neighbors will come to my fence and talk to me about their problems,” Josephine said. “[My yard] is a ministry and I need to fix it up the way the holy spirit guides me.”

Josephine has spent the last 25 years becoming a positive influence on her neighborhood. However, it has not always been easy.

“At first I got my back windows of my vehicle busted out because [the drug dealers in my neighborhood] thought they could scare me. I wasn’t afraid because of God. They saw that I wasn’t giving up and now when bad things come, they run and talk to me,” Josephine said. 

Josephine deeply cares about the people around her and her neighborhood. Those in her life see this. 

“My 30 something year old son told me, ‘mama all of the young people in the neighborhood knows that you’re going to heaven, because you’ve been good all this time. You’ve been kind,’” Josephine said.

Josephine cares about her neighbors and encourages them to take care of their homes and create something they are proud of. However, before she found Habitat’s Critical Home Repair Program, she was not able to do this herself. 

“I haven’t been able to afford [a repair on the paving slab]. It looks like a puzzle. Grass is coming up through it,” Josephine said.

She called her alderperson and asked about programs that could help her fix it, but there was none at the time. She left it alone for some time after that. However, she later received a card in the mail. She went to throw it away because she thought it was junk mail, but oddly it wouldn’t fall out of her hand. It’s at that moment when she realized it was a flier about Milwaukee Habitat’s Critical Home Repair Program.

“There was help on the way. I said I can’t believe God is doing this for me,” Josephine said. “I felt like he was doing it only for me. He made that for me, because he knew my heart and knew how hard I struggled and tried and helped other people.”

Now, with the help of Milwaukee Habitat’s Critical Home Repair Program and its 0% interest loans, Josephine is getting her paving slab repaired and will once again feel like her yard is the ministry it is meant to be.

Through Milwaukee Habitat’s Critical Home Repair Program, homeowners can get up to 80% of the project costs covered based on income, a 0% interest loan on repairs, and flexible repayment options.

She is looking forward to having the yard she has dreamed of. 

“I will have more pride about [my home],” Josephine said. “I started feeling kinda down because I’m encouraging these neighbors to [fix up their homes]. Their paving slabs are all newer than mine and I couldn’t afford to do nothing. Now they will see my new slab and be like ‘wow.’”

She sees Milwaukee Habitat as a blessing and hopes others can also benefit. 

“Everybody knows Habitat was an answer to the prayer. Habitat was used and is still being used by God,” Josephine said.

Help break down the barriers to homeownership for more local families.
Give your time and talents in our ReStores, on our build sites or join a committee.
Donate gently used furniture, appliances, home goods and more to support our work to make the cost of home something we all can afford.