Seeds of Growth: What is affordable homeownership?

Affordable homeownership and sustainable housing models normally do not belong in the same sentence, but we believe in challenging expectations. At Habitat for Humanity, we believe in the potential of our community and in finding ways to support you as you build strength and independence. We want to help break down barriers to understanding the affordable housing crisis and help you envision a future.

Why is affordable housing so important?

At Habitat for Humanity Edmonton, one of our core beliefs is the idea that everyone should have access to a safe place to call home. Across Canada and Alberta, we are seeing a rising affordable housing crisis that can leave you feeling discouraged. Household incomes are not keeping up with the pace of rising interest rates and prices. We are all experiencing inflation at the grocery store, the gas pump, and the concern about making a paycheque cover rent, food, and transportation is valid. Within urban communities, a greater demand for housing outpaces the supply. Affordable housing is a top priority for us, and we are seeing changes in our communities as people are seeking to help.

Overwhelmed? The crisis is too much to overcome as an individual, but as a community, we are working towards steps to make affordable housing a reality in our communities, cities, and across Alberta.

Habitat for Humanity’s passion

Did you know that around the world, Habitat for Humanity has been promoting affordable housing with our words and our actions for over 40 years? We move beyond the hypothetical to focus on real, concrete steps that everyone can take to become a homeowner. The phrase “Home is where the heart is” can sound like a cliche, but let’s unpack it. Your home is where everything begins and ends, from your daily routine to have a place to return to after time away. This is why we are passionate about providing sources of stability that are essential to your quality of life. On a micro level, stable environments allow kids to get connected, focus on school, and find ways to thrive because they are in a safe place. Money that would have been spent on additional expenses can be put aside for education or saving for your goals, and this has a generational impact on your family.

As a Habitat homeowner, you are not limited by your means but encouraged to dream for the future and who you want to be.

Making affordable housing attainable

What is a sustainable housing model? As a rule of thumb, housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30% of your household’s before-tax income. Our sustainable housing model is not subsidized housing, it is homeownership tried and true. The Habitat Homeownership program focuses on relieving some of your financial stress from a higher cost of living to be able to save for the future. When habitat homeowners apply to the program, they are approved for an interest-free loan. Every repayment is put towards new building projects in our communities to be able to care for a future Habitat family, in addition to selling homes back to Habitat when you are ready to move through the buyback program

We are passionate about finding ways to give back, and one element of our sustainable program model is helping families in building their skills and confidence through volunteering and home maintenance. There’s something for everyone when it comes to volunteering and connecting to your Habitat family. 

The affordable housing crisis impacts everyone, but it can also bring us together to plan for a better future. When not-for-profits, corporations, individuals, and governments work together to create sustainable housing solutions it can make waves. Interested in learning more about our Habitat Homeownership program? See if you are eligible and apply today!

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