By Bob Weir | Photos courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Denton County
There’s something about owning your own home that makes you feel you have a level of permanency you couldn’t get from renting a property. Even though, in the overwhelming majority of cases, you are sharing ownership with a bank or other mortgage company until the loan is paid off, just knowing you’re building equity for the future provides a sense of pride and accomplishment as you plan for long-term financial stability.
Homeownership in the United States has long been a cornerstone of the American dream. Not only does it signify independence and financial security, but this milestone also contributes to economic growth and job creation in communities. According to a recent survey, nearly three-quarters of Americans say owning a home is a higher measure of achievement than having a successful career, raising a family, or earning a college degree. But affordability remains a challenge for many of them.
The survey, conducted by the market research firm YouGov, comprised 2,529 adults, 1,397 of whom were homeowners. About two-thirds of respondents who did not own homes pointed to one or more affordability factors holding them back, including income level, soaring housing prices, and their ability to make a down payment. Other factors included poor credit, needing more time to be ready for homeownership, and high mortgage rates.
Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating, and preserving homes through advocacy for fair and just housing policies and providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
Hardworking, low-income families needing decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership through their Homeownership Program. Their “Homeownership Services Committee” selects homeowners anonymously based on three criteria. The applicant’s level of need, willingness to partner with Habitat, and ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan. This selection then moves to the Board of Directors for anonymous approval.
Habitat’s homebuyers then invest hundreds of hours of their labor, called “sweat equity,” working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners, in addition to paying an affordable mortgage and receiving financial education.
In 1994, Habitat for Humanity of Denton County (HFHDC) was founded and has been fortunate to build 105 homes to date, with the 8-acre Habitat Village underway that will provide up to 35 families in Denton County with affordable housing in one neighborhood. HFHDC is part of the larger Habitat for Humanity network, which operates in all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 70 countries. This global, nonprofit organization is run on Christian principles and was founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a simple, decent place to live in dignity and safety. HFHDC’s work is part of the more than 5.9 million people Habitat for Humanity served worldwide in Fiscal Year 2020.
HFHDC follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowners.
For more information, visit HabitatDentonCounty.org.