Her journey began last fall. She lived with her sons in a mobile home on Crouch Mesa, and although they were relatively comfortable, she was all too familiar with the need for a more permanent residence for her children. Before moving into the mobile home, they lived in an apartment near Animas Valley Mall.
"There was no yard, no space," she said. "And there were only two bedrooms. The three boys had to share one bedroom. Now they'll each have their own."
Norman applied four times for a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development housing program. She was rejected, each time without explanation. Confused and frustrated, her luck began to turn after a coworker told her about Economic Council Helping Others affordable housing program.
"I didn't understand why I was being denied," Norman said. "There's a lack of information on what's available ... a lack of where to look."
She contacted ECHO Housing Director Rosalyn Fry in September 2011 and finally got some good news: with some work, she could qualify for the housing program. Norman finally found out that she had been rejected for the USDA loan because of her debt to income ratio, high automobile payments and two medical collections totaling about $500.
For the first time, Norman had a clear picture of what she would have to do to own a home. She enrolled in a home buyer education class in January 2012 and completed financial literacy classes from January to February 2012. On May 14, she met with USDA representatives and applied to the housing program.
Finally in July, she was given notice that had been approved for a $180,000 loan from the USDA.
Construction on the home began in September.
"I'm ecstatic," she said as she walked around the home site. "Having kids, it's hard to find a home on a budget."
Norman grew up in Farmington. She had her first child while a student at San Juan College. After completing her associate of the arts degree, she enrolled in an online degree program at New Mexico Highlands University. She obtained a degree in business, the first in her family to go to college. She now works at the state Child Support Enforcement Division Farmington office.
Evening was fast approaching at the construction site on Crouch Mesa. Her sons Devon, 10, Garet, 8, and Trevor, 5, ran around excitedly. The wall framing had just been completed that day.
Norman walked through envisioning the rooms. She looked at the window frames, at the front door, the hall closet, her bedroom, her boys' bedrooms and a smile broke out across her face.
"Now we can actually invite people out to our own home," she said. "The location's really good. All our family live in Farmington and Aztec, so we're in between."
The sun dipped down beyond the horizon across the mesa. All was quiet in the open space. Not even a breeze rustled the gnarled junipers and low lying chaparral in the stillness of the coming night as Charity Norman thought of her home to be.