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Hear personal stories of housing struggles at Voices
Community event is Thursday night in Gainesville
Lisa Chester

Home in hard places

A series on affordable housing issues in Hall County and Gainesville. See more stories, interactive maps and videos at the above link.

Lisa Chester lived in and out of public housing growing up.

When she got pregnant at 14 years old, she said teachers and others seemed to expect her to fail.

Instead of failing, that and the crime in her neighborhood motivated her to get out of public housing and better her life for her twin boys.

Brenda Carter lives in cramped quarters that aren't ideal for her disabled daughter. She's happy for what she has but knows her daughter would be better off with something more suited to her needs.

Martha Garcia “didn’t know how to use a hammer or anything” when she started work on her home with Habitat for Humanity. She was astonished at the number of strangers who came to help her. She's had a place to call hers and where her children can run around in a safe environment since 2008.

Thursday night, these women, who have lived in less than ideal homes and neighborhoods, will share their stories at Voices: Home in Hard Places.

Following their stories will be open discussion about solutions to housing issues in the community, including thoughts from experts in the field from the city of Gainesville, Habitat for Humanity of Hall County and Action Ministries.

This second Voices event presented by the Times to connect local residents with personal stories from their community will be held at 5:30 p.m. at The Loft at Scott’s Downtown at 131 Bradford St. NE, Gainesville. The first Voices event was held in November and focused on veterans' stories.

Tickets are $5 in advance at and $7 at the event.