“Having this home means that we are creating stable roots, we are working towards actually owning something, and it’s one less thing for my mom to worry about.” ~ Hailey
In my last blog post, I raised the question of what it means for families to build strength, stability, and independence through affordable home ownership, and focused specifically on strength (read here). This month I want to touch on what building stability means for Habitat and our families.
Of strength, stability, and independence, stability is arguably the prime benefit of Habitat Home Ownership. Before partnering with Habitat, families rent, unable to successfully purchase a home on the open market. There are a number of obstacles to becoming a homeowner: high rent, no down payment, rising housing costs, inability to qualify for a traditional mortgage, and more. These obstacles often result in families moving from place to place to afford living costs. This frequent relocation causes problems for both parents, but especially for children, who often find it difficult to continually make new friends and navigate new schools and neighbourhoods.
The definition of stability is the strength to stand or endure. Few of us thrive in a chaotic or unstable environment; we need a degree of stability for peace of mind and to help us effectively plan for our future. So, in what way does Habitat Home Ownership bring stability to families? I’d like to highlight two important ways that Habitat Home Ownership brings change.
First, families gain a greater sense of stability when they become rooted in a community. The stability from being rooted in a community means more than just being anchored to a location. Parents have the opportunity to become an active part of community life and become involved long-term in the wellbeing of their neighbours. Children begin to develop long-lasting friendships and, according to studies, are able to better focus on their education. They develop a familiarity with their school, sports, community facilities, and who lives in their neighbourhood.
A strong community is fundamental to healthy development, and the ability to stay rooted in their community is a huge benefit for families.
Secondly, with Habitat Home Ownership, families do not face the unpredictability of a rental situation. There are renters who have adequate accommodations and landlords who take care of their tenants’ needs. Conversely, there are families who do not have adequate accommodations and whose basic housing needs are neglected. Some accommodations come with health risks as well as the financial instability of rent hikes.
Habitat for Humanity provides families with a stable living situation through an affordable mortgage. Like many mortgages, Habitat homeowners’ monthly payments are set for 5-year terms, which provides them with the opportunity to plan for their future without potential rent hikes looming in the back of their minds. Moreover, this payment includes taxes, insurance, and any applicable condo fees associated with the home.
So what does this mean?
Stability is the hallmark of Habitat Home Ownership, and provides families with the ability to settle into their community, plan for the future, and to do so affordably. Every donation, volunteer hour, ReStore donation or purchase – and every voice that speaks out for affordable home ownership – helps bring stability to families who need it. We hope you will join us as we strive to bring stability to more and more families this year and beyond.