We’re back with another edition of Good News Tues to spread a little joy from our Habitat family to yours. We’re all in this together. Here’s hoping this brings a little light to your day.
Beyond the Concrete Walls
Before becoming a Habitat homeowner, Tiara had been raising her young daughter, Heaven, in what she described as a “concrete townhouse.” Simple concrete block, without insulation, is all that’d been separating her family from the cold Wisconsin winters. Heating bills were through the roof.
On top the mounting heating bills, Tiara’s landlord had raised the cost of her rental twice in just over a year.
“That’s what they’re calling market value,” said Tiara. “But, they’re not making any improvements to the property.”
After multiple increases, she’d been paying $750 per month in rent, and that’s before utilities. With a young daughter and a baby on the way at the time, Tiara wanted to ensure her growing family would be financially stable in the future.
However, as wage growth continues to lag behind the rising cost of housing, families are getting stuck paying more and more of their income on rent. As that paycheck gets eaten up by rent, families are forced to make impossible choices with what’s left over. A nationwide study found that on average, cost burdened renters (someone paying more than 30% of their income on housing) had less than $10 in savings.
As she began work on her Habitat home, Tiara said that her daughter Heaven would ask “When are we going to have a big house?” Their small rental had only a concrete slab outside where she could play. For the first time, Heaven would have a backyard.
Shortly after their family grew from two to three, Tiara got the keys to that ‘big house.’ The affordable mortgage not only ensured she’d have enough room for her family, but that she could build equity for the future.
“What we’re paying for rent is never ours,” Tiara says. “We continue to give away our money to landlords, but this, this is ours.”