A Sacramento mother and her three children have spent the last three years living in a 200-square-foot garage.
Rina Dixon's husband was murdered in 2007, according to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento spokesperson Laine Himmelmann.
To support her family, Dixon worked several part-time jobs and move them into public housing. After the family witnessed shootings during their brief stay at the complex, Dixon said she feared for her young children's safety.
Dixon and her three children moved into the garage attached to her mother's house -- her daughter slept in the living room, Dixon and her two sons shared a bed in the garage.
"It's cold in the winters, it's hot in the summer. It's not connected to any water, there's not a bathroom in there," Himmelmann with Habitat for Humanity said.
In 2013, Dixon was accepted into the Habitat program. She worked a required 500 hours in "sweat equity" to build her home, in between her job and taking care of her children and parents.
Dixon recalled coming home after the first day of laboring over her home's construction, "Almost in tears, driving home, sun burnt, wore out, dirty and feeling so hot and sweaty," Dixon said. "I get home, look at my kids and our living situation -- in a converted garage -- and I say to myself, 'I'm not a quitter. I refuse to let my kids see me give up.'"
Dixon said she never thought she could be a homeowner.
On Saturday, she got the keys to her new three-bedroom home located off of Frienza Avenue in North Sacramento.
It is the 130th completed home by Habitat of Humanity for Greater Sacramento.
"Now, they're going to be living in this beautiful three-bedroom, two bathroom home," Himmelmann said.
Dixon's home was donated from Bank of America and was built to the highest level of green building standards, according to Himmelmann. The home includes drought tolerant landscaping, solar panels, and other LEED features.
Habitat for Humanity is marking 30 years of building "hope and homes" in Sacramento and Yolo Counties, in partnership with the local communities.
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