Ahaji first heard of MEND through word of mouth. As a single parent, she was having trouble making ends meet and needed a more affordable housing solution. She also wanted to live in a nice, safe environment where she could raise her son.
After receiving raving recommendations about MEND, Ahaji visited MEND’s website and downloaded the application for the Moorestown Baylor Arms location. A short 6 months after submitting her application, she moved in to a two-bedroom apartment with her 12-year-old son.
“The apartment was above MEND’s main office, so I got to know Matt Reilly (MEND’s CEO & President) and the staff very well,” she says. “Everyone at MEND is so kind and friendly.”
Ahaji lived in the Moorestown Baylor Arms apartment for 12 years. In 2016, she decided it was time to start the search for her new home and after looking at around 30 properties in New Jersey, she decided to tour one house on the Philly side – in Brewerytown, Pa. As “destiny” would have it, that was the house she bought. For Ahaji, the home-buying experience was very exciting, but also nerve-wracking, as big life steps usually are. And saying goodbye to her home of 12 years was nothing short of bittersweet.
“While I had gone to university in Philly and worked there for 14 years I really came to love the quiet and safety of the suburbs,” says Ahaji. “I wanted to make sure I bought a house that would be as equally fulfilling as the place I had in Moorestown.”
“I was thrilled to finally make this big investment and have a place to call my own, but I knew I would miss Moorestown,” says Ahaji. “Our apartment was in such a great spot – one block away from Main Street and in the most beautiful area. My son and I had enjoyed our time there, and we are so grateful for the memories.”
MEND’s affordable rent allowed Ahaji to save money. This enabled her to put a good amount down on the house, which in turn, leveled her property taxes and mortgage to be about the same as her rent in Moorestown. If she hadn’t lived in MEND’s housing unit, she would not be in the position she is today.
However, the real pay-off for Ahaji is seeing the doors that have opened for her son.
“The way my son flourished in school and the community and his trajectory through college came from the fact that he had such a safe and loving place to call home. Moorestown was a place that he could grow and thrive – that’s absolutely priceless to me.”
Ahaji’s son has a bright future. After graduating from college in June of 2019, he moved to Costa Rica to focus on a career in environmental engineering, sustainable energy and green infrastructure.
Ahaji believes her son’s story is proof that MEND enables you to not just survive, but thrive.
Paying it Forward
“The security of an affordable and comfortable living arrangement eliminates a lot of the stress of constantly trying to stay afloat. Instead, you can focus on enjoying your life and other important things like family, friends and school.”
Now that Ahaji has finally reached her dream of owning a home, she feels more secure than ever.
“It feels like freedom,” said Ahaji. “I have something to call my own and be proud of, but I also made an investment that I’m able to pass on to my family one day.”
Ahaji’s 12 years with MEND have resulted in chain reaction of opportunities that far surpass her lifetime.
“All these things that I have benefited from – it goes beyond me,” says Ahaji. “I know now that my son is in a much better position, and his family will be in an even greater position. The impact is generational, and for that, I am forever grateful.”