Standing in the living room of her new Habitat home, Robin Davis shows off her prized Thomas Kincade painting. “When times were rough, I would look at this painting and dream about walking up that pathway,” she explains.
For the past eight years, Robin has lived in a rental property with a long list of unsafe conditions. She speaks of them with the voice of a survivor, having endured them for so long that she began to accept them as normal. Leaking pipes, rotting floors and an overgrowth of mold, had become Robin’s normal. Despite the fact that she paid her rent on time and took good care of the property, her landlord refused to address the overwhelming issues. “One time, after a rain storm, there was an inch of standing water in three rooms and he just brought us two shammy towels to clean it up ourselves.”
A mother of seven, grandmother of thirteen and great-grandmother of one, Robin raised her now grown, biological children in the DC area where she retired from the Coast Guard. She moved to Durham to be near family after losing her husband in a car accident. Robin found herself “working hard each day to emotionally just survive.”
Shortly after her move, a woman from church called Robin to help with her newborn baby. She needed a day… and then another. Days turned into a week and weeks turned into Robin caring for the baby’s other two siblings as well.
“I took Michael, Kiana and KaNya to the park for the first time in their lives. I helped them learn how to play and just be kids. I realized that I hadn’t felt happy since my husband passed and these children were bringing me so much joy. When asked if I wanted to adopt them as my own, I had to say yes; it couldn’t be any other way.”
Robin’s adopted children came with physical and developmental needs. She spent a lot of time advocating for their education and well-being. Meanwhile, Robin’s deteriorating rental home and crime on her street continued to be a source of stress. She dreamed of moving her family far, far away - somewhere safe, some place like that Thomas Kincade cottage.
Little did she know that her escape would be just one block south.
Robin points out that the colors in the print match her new Habitat home and the stepping stones up her walkway resemble the ones in the painting - almost too good to be true. Even with her Habitat application approved and construction underway, Robin struggled to believe that she was going to be a homeowner. “When you’re accustomed to being denied, it’s hard to put yourself out there, to get your hopes up.” It wasn’t until the keys were in her hand on closing day that she celebrated her accomplishment.
Robin Davis built and purchased a home for her family. A home for Michael, Kiana and KaNya. A safe, secure home with space for brighter futures.
From her front porch, Robin shares why she chose to buy on the street where she rented for so many years. She reflects on how Habitat’s investment in the neighborhood continues to drive crime away and bring in more families. A proud Northeast Central Durham homeowner, Robin is a symbol of hope for her neighbors and for her family.
When asked what she thinks people should know about Habitat, a smile spreads across her face and tears well up in her eyes, “I think everyone involved needs to know that they aren’t just building a house or putting a roof on, they’re giving families real hope.” She continues, “Habitat is more than just a home; it provides stepping stones - a pathway for us to advance further in other parts of our lives.”