Article from Enterprise Record, May 22, 2016

By Heather Hacking

Chico >> Just two months ago, the Butte County group of Habitat for Humanity hosted an open house for two new homes for two working families in Chico. Now it’s time to start over.

Anthony and Vanessa Bruhns will be the next couple to swing hammers and spread paint for a south Chico home they should occupy about this time next year. There’s a lot of work ahead, including 500 hours the couple will need to contribute in sweat equity toward the home’s construction.

“Blessed” was the word Vanessa Bruhns used several times to describe how she felt about being chosen.

The couple has three children, ages 13, 3 and 1. Right now the youngest sleeps in the room with the parents.

Vanessa Bruhns said she feels fortunate to have lived in the mobile home park where she lives now. She was a single mom, working two jobs and raising two children when she met and later married Anthony.

Living in the mobile home park has served them well, and Vanessa Bruhns’ father lives next door.

However, the home has problems including a sagging roof and electrical problems.

The Habitat for Humanity program,, has a long list of applicants. The Bruhnses were chosen because their current living situation is substandard, they have the ability to pay the mortgage and passed the credit worthiness checks, explained Habitat Executive Director Nicole Bateman.

Many people have the misconception that the homes are simply given to people, Bateman said. That’s not the case.

Families pay a mortgage based on their ability to pay. Usually it is 30-40 percent of the household income.

With volunteer labor and contributions of materials, the homes often are valued at higher than residents will pay in the end.

Anthony Bruhns works as a painter for Crabtree Paint and said he’s ready to put those skills to work. He’ll also use other tools if that’s what’s needed, he said during an interview at the couple’s home last week.

His wife works at nights as an aide for adults who are mentally challenged.

She said she’s still a bit in shock that her family was chosen. She’s excited for her children, who will have a better place to grow up.

She’s also thankful to be blessed by the people who are willing to give their time to help others in the community, she said.

You can join with Anthony and Vanessa to help the next Habitat Homeowner DONATE NOW