Brangmai Hpauyam and his wife, Merry, have been building their lives in Vancouver for five years. They are from Myanmar and were relocated through the Refugee Resettlement Program, a highly selective federal program to help individuals and families who are unable to return to their home countries because of persecution based on his or her race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.  Participants in this program are subject to intensive security checks and screening interviews before they are authorized to enter the United States.

When Brangmai and Merry arrived in the United States, they also brought their daughter, Tsin Mai, who was only three years old at the time.  No one in the family spoke English, making the transition to the U.S. challenging.  Through the Refugee Resettlement program, they were given a stipend for housing and health care for just six months.  Within that time, the family was expected to get themselves on their feet.  Despite this challenging timeline, Brang Mai was able to find a steady job and apartment for his family.
Within these first few transition years, Brangmai and Merry also experienced the births of two more daughters, Lulumai and Htoisanmai, now four years old and 10 months old. Brangmai now worries that his family is quickly outgrowing their small two-bedroom apartment, and as the sole income provider, he will not be able to keep up with the rent increases year after year. The Hpauyam family is already paying 45% of their income on housing alone.


Brangmai, Merry, and their daughters are eager to make McKibbin Commons their home. Merry loves to garden and Tsin Mai has dreams to paint her bedroom pink, and have a desk where she can do her homework. Brangmai works swing shift at Leatherman, and hopes to have a quiet and private place to rest. These small details will provide the greatest joys in their new Habitat home.
“I thought it was impossible to own a home.  When my daughters would ask why we don’t have a home, I told them it was not possible. Now I can tell them it is possible.” –Brangmai Hpaw Yam