Breaking the Cycle of “Lifetime Renting”

Breaking the Cycle of “Lifetime Renting”

Sophia has her sights set on breaking a cycle of “lifetime renting” in her family. She has been working hard to financially prepare to make an investment in the stability of homeownership. She sees it as an opportunity to give her children a better life.

With four children, three of whom are still at home, Milwaukee Habitat’s affordable homeownership program breaks down the barriers that all too many families face when trying to become first-time home buyers. From growing up in the projects of Chicago, to renting homes throughout her lifetime, Sophia set a goal to one day have a home of her own, free from the problems of renting. 

“I have a son with health issues,” Sophia says. “In older homes, you can have mold. By building a new home, I don’t have to worry about his breathing. I think this will be someplace he can thrive in.”

Sophia is building a brand new four bedroom home in Milwaukee’s Midtown neighborhood. It’s an accomplishment that too often can feel out of reach for families encountering significant obstacles like large down payments, high interest rates and the denial of affordable loans. Alongside long-time Habitat supporter Sargento Cheese, Sophia is breaking down the barriers and investing in a home she can truly call her own. Employees, including the CEO Louie Gentine, were on the build site this summer helping to raise the walls of Sophia’s home.

While the average cost to own a home in Milwaukee is $1600 per month, the typical mortgage for a Milwaukee Habitat home is between $600-$800 per month. With the cost of rent continuing to rise, Sophia, like most Milwaukee Habitat homeowners, will spend less on her new home than she’s been spending on rent. The savings will have a ripple effect throughout her family’s life. 

“It’ll mean more outings, more traditions to be made,” she says. “It’ll mean being able to save, not having to worry about food.”

She also knows this home will be a great source of pride for her family. 

“I want that sense of homeownership,” she says. “I can mow my lawn and have that sense of pride to take care of my place.”

Sophia’s children are so excited to move in. When she found out that she had been approved, she went to the build site and snapped photos of their future home. 

“When I showed them pictures of the home,” Sophia says, “they lit up.”

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