Trinity Habitat for Humanity’s desire to help people become homeowners isn’t about fulfilling the American Dream, although it does that. It’s not merely about a financial investment in someone’s future, although there is an element of that. It’s about the ripple effects of homeownership, the intangible value of being a homeowner that has the power to change the trajectory of someone’s life.
Homeownership Provides Stability
Leasing a place to live requires less upfront and maintenance costs, but it doesn’t provide the stability associated with homeownership. Habitat families find relief in knowing their mortgage payment will not increase unexpectedly. There is a sense of stability because they are not at the mercy of a landlord. And homeowners keep the same address for years instead of months, reducing the stress that comes with looking for and moving to a new place of residence. Many of the families we partner with moved frequently, following the cost savings of rental deals, before they built a permanent home of their own.
Homeownership Instills Motivation
Not only are the families we work with motivated to earn their own home, but they are also motivated to maintain it. In part, that’s because they put hours of “sweat equity” into building the home and they know it inside and out. But more than that, Habitat families are motivated to change their lives in general. It started when they made a decision to fill out the application for a home, but it didn’t end there. They set aside the money they save on rent for their child’s college education or to buy more reliable transportation in the future. They work hard to maintain the property because it belongs to them and represents a monumental moment in their lives.
Homeownership Improves Education
Every time a family has to move, there is the possibility the child will have to change schools. Changing schools negatively impacts learning. Imagine going to a new school and not knowing anybody, not being familiar with classroom procedures, and not understanding the methods your new teacher uses. Even the brightest students from stable homes struggle when they change schools. That struggle is amplified when life and home are unstable. Homeownership means kids get to stay in the same school. That kind of stability alone is beneficial. When it’s combined with watching motivated parents care for the home, it improves a child’s chances of being successful in school.
Homeownership Aids in Child Development
The stability of parents being homeowners aids in a child’s development. Between the ages of five and 12, education and development go hand in hand. Renowned psychologist Erik Erikson calls that particular stage of development Industry vs. Inferiority. It’s the time in life when a child strives to achieve competence. If their grades are suffering because they’re constantly moving and changing schools, children will struggle to achieve this milestone. Having a stable address and parents who feel less stressed by finances improves a child’s chances of successfully navigating this stage of development.
Homeownership Enables Future Planning
Trinity Habitat families pay a low monthly payment on their Habitat home. This consistent monthly payment helps them with budgeting. The lower payment allows folks to set aside some money for unexpected expenses, continuing education, or a kid’s college fund. Instead of struggling to keep their heads above water, families are able to breathe and dream about the future.
All together, these intangible factors cultivate hope when families need it most. That’s why we do what we do. Want to join us?