To Ayesha Larrañaga, home means more than just four walls and a roof—it signifies a haven of peace, a space where generational traumas can be healed, and a secure environment where her special needs daughter can safely play. To Dennis, it represents stability, ownership, and the assurance of a lasting family sanctuary.

The couple’s connection with Habitat began unexpectedly. Dennis started as a Youth Build member and did so well that he began an apprenticeship with SFHFH at the ReStore. This led to his eventual hiring, where he has since become the Assistant Store Manager. Dennis has been a part of Habitat for more than 12 years. “When I worked at the ReStore, they mentioned Habitat’s mission and suggested that I apply. Soon after, I was working with them and learning about their homeownership program,” he shares.

Embarking on this journey, Dennis and Ayesha first faced the intricate maze of navigating their finances. “The challenge,” Ayesha elaborates, “was more than just securing the home—it was understanding budgeting, building our credit, and escaping the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, a pattern that had been a constant in my life.” Santa Fe Habitat stepped in with valuable guidance, offering budgeting classes, finance workshops, and actionable recommendations. “They equipped us with the tools we needed. It was more than just handing over house keys; they provided a roadmap to long-term homeownership,” Dennis expressed.

Dennis believes the true value of their Habitat home goes beyond its physical structure. Ayesha resonates with this, emphasizing the generational shift this home has triggered. “I have so many feelings that come with just the word ‘homeowner’ because my family’s never been a homeowner. So it’s a huge, huge thing. To me, it’s independence. It’s having a generation where we can live forever. My daughter can live here forever. Her kids can live here forever.”

Dennis and Ayesha Larrañaga have not just built a home with Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity; they’ve crafted a sanctuary of dreams, resilience, and love—a place they proudly call their home.