Owning a home isn't just about having the title to a property. It isn't simply an investment strategy or nest-egg plan. Home ownership isn't a privilege reserved for the upper class and well-to-do. Although owning a home isn't necessarily in itself a right, every person, particularly every family, has the right to a clean safe place to live.
Unfortunately, there are a great many families who despite being honest hard workers, are still unable to attain home ownership. A number of factors create barriers to families trying to own their own home.
Buying a home requires a down payment. Even with social programs that allow first-time buyers to reduce their down payment amount to 3.5%, that still amounts to $7,000 for a $200,000 home. That is more than what the average single millennial has in available savings, according to a 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances by the Federal Reserve.
Even with the required down payment, a family has to be approved for a mortgage. That can also be a challenge for a young family without a long work history or even an older family who has been living paycheck to paycheck as so many have to. Without a stellar credit rating and stable work history, many families don't stand a chance.
Despite rising numbers of people choosing to rent rather than own, the great majority of young people aspire to own their own home some day. They work toward that goal, but these days even their best efforts are simply not enough.
Habitat for Humanity believes that every person deserves to have secure and stable housing. They recognize that there is a level of pride and honor among people that must be maintained. That is why the Habitat for Humanity's Homeowner Program offers hard working families a hand up, not a handout.
Habitat understands that sometimes people need a little help in order to break the cycle of poverty. Through their programs, houses are built and sold to Habitat Families with no down-payment. Financing is provided through affordable, no-interest mortgages. Families must also invest a significant number of hours of their own labor, what is referred to as sweat equity, into building their own houses and those of other families.
In this way, Habitat for Humanity doesn't simply provide housing. Instead, they lead, guide, and help people attain housing themselves. Habitat home ownership gives families more than just a house – it gives them a sense of pride and responsibility. The impact is immediate and the effects are lasting.