Hometown Habitat News

Dionna Alston: From Habitat Homebuyer to Community Leader


At Habitat Lake-Sumter, we often talk about the life-changing impact that safe, stable housing has on a homebuyer’s future. For homebuyer Dionna Alston, the stability that has come from owning her own home has allowed her to develop a passion for advocacy and a drive to pay it forward. Now a newly appointed Habitat Lake-Sumter board member, Dionna hopes to use her experience to help change the lives of homebuyers just like her.

“I just wanted to give them a better opportunity,” recalls Dionna Alston. A Habitat homebuyer and single mother and grandmother to three children, Dionna explains why she chose to uproot her family from their hometown and make the move to central Florida over a decade ago.

After years of renting at unsustainable rates, she recognized her family’s need for a more permanent housing solution. “I always prayed that one day I could stop renting and obtain my own home. Renting had become more and more expensive throughout the years, and it was not always the best experience. It was time to step out on faith to reach my goal of home ownership,” Dionna recalls.

Applying for the Homeownership program in 2022 felt like a longshot, Dionna explains.

“I applied with great anticipation, but with some trepidation. Surely, I wouldn’t meet the qualifications, but I definitely had to try.”

Her effort and faith paid off, and Dionna was accepted into the Homeownership Program. The journey to homeownership was a transformative one, and by the time she closed on her home in the spring of 2023, Dionna had discovered a drive to become the kind of community advocate that had supported her through the homeownership process.

“I want to be a voice for homeowners,” she explains.

Over the past year, Dionna has truly become that voice. She brought her experience to Tallahassee last January, where a group from Habitat Lake-Sumter had the chance to chat with local elected officials about policies that help provide and protect affordable housing. It was during this trip that Dionna’s passion for affordable housing, as well as her long-enduring goal to set a good example for her family and her community, began to shine through.

When approached to become a board member for Habitat Lake-Sumter, Dionna saw an opportunity to deepen her involvement not only with the organization, but with a community that has given her so much. “Habitat has been a godsend for me and my family,” she explains. Now, alongside other dedicated leaders, she hopes to inspire, encourage, and support future homebuyers just like her.

“I want to inspire others and make a difference,” she says. As the first Habitat homebuyer on the board, she plans to utilize her unique perspective and firsthand experience to provide insight to the board’s decisions.

Dionna’s story is a reminder that through perseverance and community support, we can build brighter futures, one home at a time. She explains that she’s thrilled about the future possibilities of learning from the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of her fellow board members. “I want to serve to the best of my ability” she says.

As she prepares to take on this new role, Dionna reflects on Habitat’s role in her story, and how transformative affordable housing initiatives and community support can be in someone’s life.

“I encourage everyone to support such a great organization that’s making a difference in the lives of so many people who otherwise wouldn’t have these opportunities.”