Valley woman with Spina bifida getting new home thanks to Habitat for Humanity

Dione Gonzales says her dream has always been to own her own home, she just never thought it would be possible.

"I decided to apply for Habitat for Humanity not knowing what that was all about or if I would qualify," she said.

The process to get to this point, she says, was a long one -- three years, but worth it.

"For me being on a limited income, I always thought I'd just be a renter," she said. "I never imagined I would have this wonderful opportunity."

"Our selection process is volunteer-driven," Jason Barlow said. "We have about 20 people -- they pair up, go out to the homes. They interview the family -- they have to have the need for affordable housing, the willingness to partner and the ability to pay a mortgage because Habitat doesn't give its homes away, we sell them but at a zero-interest mortgage."

Barlow, who's president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, says this year the non-profit will build 25 homes and renovate another 300. It's all made possible with help from sponsors like Strategy Financial Group -- the company brought 25 employees and clients to help with today's build.

"We heard her story and we want to be a part of it," one volunteer said.

"Why do you give back?" I asked.

"I think that's what we're here to do and that's the secret of life -- the more you give, the more you get," a volunteer replied.

When Dione was born, she was diagnosed with Spina bifida -- a birth defect that causes the spine and spinal cord to not form properly. The home being built by Habitat is completely adapted to her needs.

"They are actually putting in special things like pull-down cabinetry for me because it's hard to reach into cabinets, grab bars, showers," Gonzales said. "The fact that they are aking this modified for myself because I am in a wheelchair is even more special."

Dione is hopeful that construction will wrap up in a few months and she will be able to move in by February.