“I’ve always wanted to own my home.”
For the past 17 years, Persephone (pronounced: per-SEF-a-nee) has raised her daughter in a two bedroom townhouse on Center Street in Milwaukee. She’s never missed a rent payment and always maintained the property. However, a few years ago, Persephone became determined to stop paying into someone else’s future and start investing in her own.
“I’ve been renting for 17 years,” she says. “I probably could have paid for a home in that time and that’s troubling for me.”
Persephone worked hard to get her finances in order in preparation to purchase her first home. Beginning her search for her first-ever home in 2021, she was met with housing prices that were going through the roof.
“I’d put in an offer at the listed price and the realtor would tell me ‘You’re going to have to go $10k-$15k over list to get an accepted offer,’” she says. “That was majorly frustrating.”
In 2022, the amount one needed to earn to afford the median priced home in Milwaukee rose 47%. And it wasn’t just the price of homeownership going up. That same year, Persephone’s landlord changed hands and raised rent from $700 per month to $1000 per month.
Discouraged by the skyrocketing cost of homeownership – particularly for a first-time buyer – Persephone says she almost gave up. But she desperately wanted a place to call her own.
“I’ve always wanted to own my home,” she says. “That’s my dream.”
By partnering with Milwaukee Habitat and our community of supporters, that dream is about to come true. Persephone currently doesn’t have any outdoor space and says her townhouse is too small to entertain family. Looking towards her future three-bedroom Habitat home, she’s looking forward to planting a garden in the backyard and having family over for get-togethers.
She has fond memories gardening with her late mother in the home where she grew up. Her mom owned that home until she passed away a few years back. Persephone would help with the garden every year, planting vegetables and tending to the harvest.
Now, Persephone is putting down roots in a brand new home in the Harambee neighborhood. She expects her monthly mortgage payment to be less than what she’s currently spending in rent.
“When you own, you’re building equity,” she says. “To know that I own my home means I’ll be more at peace. I’ll be able to have family over, to have my gardens; I’ll have something that will be my own.”