2.3 min readPublished On: March 27, 2024

What’s the Value of Affordable Housing?

Affordable is a relative term, especially in this economic climate. According to Florida Trend, home prices in Florida increased 73.5% between 2018 and 2023. So why not just rent?

“Owning a home can provide the type of stability a family needs to plan for the future. We see health outcomes and financial outcomes greatly improved with stable housing,” says Lacie Himes, development director for Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter.

According to Florida Housing Coalition, over half of Florida families are paying more than 50% of their income for housing. Experts consider 30% to be affordable. Anything more than that can lead to financial strain and is potentially unsustainable.

Habitat helps families in Lake County who are paying an average rent ranging from $1200 to $1500, enabling them to transition into an affordable mortgage. Lower monthly payments give them breathing room and a chance to make better long-term financial decisions. Additionally, they are building equity, an investment for their future.

“We bridge the gap for low-income families getting into the housing market, helping them to buy rather than rent. Our homes are appraised at market value, but we create layered financing that can put the cost of housing back under 30% of their income on a monthly basis,” Lacie explains.

Applicants for Habitat homes are evaluated based on income, family size, credit score and other criteria. Those who are chosen go through a financial literacy program and are guided through the standard mortgage application process.

“A certain element of the program is a willingness to partner with us,” adds Veronica Troxell, programs director. “We build trust very quickly as we help families find success where they have previously failed or been rejected.”

Ashley Hunter is going through the process now to become a Habitat homeowner. “Becoming a homeowner will help me be more financially stable with an affordable monthly mortgage payment and a place my kids and I can call home,” Ashley says.

Families that buy Habitat homes become part of a supportive community. They are required to invest up at least 200 hours of sweat equity into their build, and they have access to financial guidance and resources through the Habitat network forever.

“Owning a home, building a future for our children, is something my husband and I have always dreamed of. Neither of us had that when we were growing up. It’s a blessing,” Elexis Broughton explains. “We had to take a six-hour course to prepare for buying the home, but I was eager to learn. The stepping-stones to get to this place seemed hard, but Habitat built that bridge for us.”

Habitat for humanity Lake-Sumter kicked off their 300th build on March 20th with a Pink Champagne Party for Women Build 2024. Go to their website to learn more and see how you can get involved.

About the Author: Christine Andola

Christine Andola
With a bachelor’s degree in communication from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz, in 1990 Christine embarked on a blind journey to building a career. She moved through teaching in the inner city public schools, reporting for a weekly newspaper, writing user manuals and technical documentation at a software company, lobbying and public relations at the state level for national associations and marketing for professional services firms. Christine’s writing portfolio includes everything from newspapers to grant proposals. She has developed web content, written blogs, ghost-written professional journal articles and drafted ad copy. From technical writing to lifestyle feature pieces, Christine lives by the value of words. She enjoys learning about the people around her and sharing information in a way that resonates with readers.

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