Need comes in many forms. Here are a handful of examples of the types of situations that lead to need for Habitat partner families. You might be surprised by how familiar they sound.
Struggling to make ends meet is stressful enough. When a natural disaster like a flood or tornado strike, not every family is able to recover without a little help. Basic insurance coverage doesn’t always cut the mustard. Some apartment complexes don’t require residents to carry renters’ insurance, nor do they cover property loss, leaving families trapped by a situation over which they had no control.
There are any number of family crises that leave folks feeling financially stretched or in need.
- A grandmother who suddenly finds herself as the guardian of her four grandchildren
- The divorcee who is forced to juggle daycare costs on a single income
- A domestic abuse victim who found the courage to take her children and leave a dangerous situation
- The son who takes an unpaid leave of absence to care for an ailing parent
- The death of a spouse who was the primary breadwinner
If you grow up in a middle class home, chances are you’ll be in a middle class home as an adult. The same holds true for those who grew up in poverty. While a middle class family might be able to rescue their adult child from a minor financial pinch, the same cannot be said of a family living near the poverty line. For some, multiple generations live under one (very crowded) roof to stretch family dollars as far as possible. There must be a catalyst to break the cycle. Trinity Habitat for Humanity wants to be that catalyst.
A Child With Special Needs
Imagine a young family that pays their bills each month and sets just a little bit aside for a rainy day. When the young couple finds out they’re pregnant, they’re as excited as any other young couple would be. Money will be tight, but they’re happy to sacrifice for the newest addition. What happens when that child is born with special needs, has to stay in the NICU, needs a heart surgery, or all of the above? The financial situation for that family changes drastically. Medical bills, medication, special equipment and specialized caregivers quickly deplete any savings they had set aside.
Even if the family finds another way to cover those costs, how will they pay for any necessary modifications to their home to protect a weak little immune system from mold or bad air quality? How will they cover the cost of widening the door frames of the home to accommodate a wheelchair? Like any parent, they love their child and want to provide for their needs. Sometimes they need a little help to do that. Affordable housing, built with their specific situation in mind, may be all the help they need.
Bad Landlords and Rent Hikes
Renting a home means being subject to the whims of a landlord. While most property owners are upstanding citizens just trying to earn an honest living, there are others who manage to trap low income families in rotten situations. What if your family had to choose between being able to pay rent or living in a healthy environment? Ideally you could do both, but that’s not always possible for everyone. Landlords who refuse to fix leaky pipes or have mold removed create unhealthy situations for their tenants, but because those tenants can’t afford to move, the landlords are not motivated to change.
Even in a normal, healthy apartment complex, families face rent increases at the end of almost every lease. Those increases can be the difference between making ends meet or not. Additionally, renters don’t accumulate any equity to use in the future. Habitat partner families have a consistent monthly mortgage payment that doesn’t change, and they don’t have to have a down payment to qualify for a home. Their sweat equity serves as their down payment and their exit from less-than-desirable rental situations.