For Natalie, Isaiah, and their family, knowing they didn’t have to move again changed their outlook for the future. “Owning a home, it removes a huge weight”, Natalie says with relief, as she talks about her recently completed Greater Matthews Habitat home.
Natalie, a full-time dental hygienist, knows all too well the difficulties of finding an affordable place to live. The rental her family was living in before their Habitat home had taken her months and months to find after her prior rental wouldn’t renew her lease – and the stress of that happening again had been a constant worry for her. That, and the fact that she had been paying more than she could really even afford. Each month, almost half of her income went towards paying rent on a three-bedroom house that wasn’t big enough for her family.
Those worries are behind Natalie and Isaiah now. With an affordable mortgage, their four-bedroom Greater Matthews Habitat home has plenty of space for their five children not to be living on top of one another. They are also free from the stress of increasing rent or moving.
It was a long process. Natalie began reaching out about the homeownership program six months before the application period began, and then, once accepted, she and Isaiah had to complete 250 volunteer sweat equity hours on the construction of their home and complete financial literacy and homeowner education. But they feel the process was worth it. “It just takes time – but it’s worth it, not to give up or stop trying. It’s an awesome program, so I think it’s definitely worth what it takes to put into it”, Natalie explains.
Remembering the process from the beginning, Isaiah says “I think we’re very fortunate. Thinking back to all the volunteers, who helped us get there. I don’t wanna get too comfortable, I wanna be thankful all the time, for them and you guys – for giving us the opportunity to own a home”.