Tenee Baker, with son Jadon and daughter Saniyah, in front of their new home in Pacific. COURTESY PHOTO, Habitat for Humanity

Tenee Baker, with son Jadon and daughter Saniyah, in front of their new home in Pacific. COURTESY PHOTO, Habitat for Humanity

A permanent home at last

U.S. Army veteran and her two kids settle into a Habitat for Humanity community just for vets

  • Thursday, October 25, 2018 10:20am
  • Business

For the Auburn Reporter

From a homeless shelter in California to a sand-filled military tent in Kuwait to the 15 often-rundown rental homes she later shared with her children, Tenee Baker had always longed for stability.

That wish came true when Habitat for Humanity recently approved her for a home in a new veterans’ community in Pacific.

Still, she was hesitant to celebrate.

“We’d moved around so much between the military and everything that happened afterwards, and I didn’t want to disappoint my kids again,” she explained. “I breathed a sigh of relief to get the news, but I’d spent so long waiting for the other shoe to drop, I wasn’t going to believe it until the keys were in my hand.”

Baker’s housing instability began when she was a teenager. Traumatized by a sexual assault and fragile family relationships, Baker wound up homeless for six months. She joined the U.S. Army Reserve, going through basic and advanced training in munitions, and held private-sector jobs in several different cities.

Then, the country was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

Baker was called to active duty at a staging ground in Kuwait, leaving 2-year-old son Jadon in the care of her mother. The deployment resulted in physical ailments and PTSD that eventually led her home.

Years of struggles with misdiagnosed illnesses and challenges to military benefit decisions followed before Baker completed her college degree and secured a job as a biomedical equipment support specialist with the Seattle VA Hospital. By then, daughter Saniyah had joined the family.

Just as Habitat was about to provide that long-desired stability, a forgotten student loan threatened to disqualify Baker from securing a mortgage.

“It was devastating to get so close and almost see it not happen. Habitat could’ve given up on me, but they helped me instead,” Baker said. “Now, I believe it – this is mine. We finally have a permanent home.”

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County visit Habitatskc.org or contact Chief Development Officer Amy Farrier at amy.farrier@habitatskc.org, 206-456-6943.

More in Business

State’s economy loses jobs in February; unemployment rate stays at 4.5 percent

Washington’s economy lost 8,700 jobs in February and the state’s seasonally adjusted… Continue reading

3No Networking mixer returns to Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro on Thursday, March 21

Business leaders and guests are invited to a 3No Networking mixer at… Continue reading

Journey for women entrepreneurs full of risk, determination and support

Women-owned small businesses rise in Washington state

ADA presents St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl

Celebration at downtown locations

3No Networking mixer comes to Geaux Brewing on Thursday, Feb. 27

Business leaders and guests are invited to a 3No Networking mixer at… Continue reading

COURTESY PHOTO, BNSF
BNSF plans $175 million capital program in Washington for 2019

BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Railway Company plans to invest about $175… Continue reading

Praerit Garg joins Smartsheet as CTO

Bellevue-based company employs 760 people

Two Payless ShoeSource stores in Auburn to close when company folds

Payless ShoeSource last Friday announced plans to shutter its 2,100 remaining stores… Continue reading

FieldhouseUSA to join the Outlet Collection

Indoor complex expected to open in early 2020

3No Networking mixer comes to the Clarion Inn on Thursday, Feb. 21

Business leaders and guests are invited to a 3No Networking mixer at… Continue reading

Property taxes to drop 11.4 percent in Auburn for 2019

Taxes will go down for some, up for others; overall, taxes will fall in King County by an average of 1 percent