The Austin Family and Families For Families Home Build
You might know Shawnté and her brilliant smile and hoop earrings from Wholefoods where she runs a cash register. She says she is excited to be building and buying her home so close to NC Central as she’s thinking about going back to school.
Shawnté said, “I was just fed up that day… I had to do something so I filled out the Habitat application online. I’m so glad I did. I love you guys!” We’re glad you filled out that application, Shawnté, and we love you too!
We know filling out Habitat’s application can be daunting, and it’s only the first step in the journey to homeownership through Habitat. In Shawnté’s case she filled out the application, she waited, and then… she didn’t qualify. While she met most of Habitat’s criteria for homeownership, she didn’t have two years of rental history.
Shawnté had a good reason she didn’t have rental history – because she and her children were homeless, couch-surfing with friends and relatives. But how can you establish rental history if you’re homeless?
Fortunately, Habitat was able to provide an option for Shawnté: she could build rental history through Habitat’s “HIP”. HIP, an acronym for Homeowner Incubation Program, is an innovative Durham Habitat program designed for folks just like Shawnté, those who meet most, but not all, criteria for homeownership. HIP is a short-term rental as a pathway to homeownership.
Durham Habitat’s HIP is a young program still in its pilot phase, and Shawnté is only the second HIP participant to break ground on her home. She’s also only the second in her family who will own a home, so there must be something about the number 2 for Shawnté! She also says, “I love the location because my son plans to go to Durham Tech for two years and then transfer to NC Central. What a smart decision – he’ll save tuition money by going to Durham Tech, plus he’ll live in our house. And I can keep an eye on him!”
Shawnté, 2 might be your lucky number, but you’re a number 1 with Habitat. Durham Habitat is honored to be your partner!
You also can see a short interview with Shawnté that we featured in our Neighbors Helping Neighbors video last April!
The Austin Family home is being built by Robyn. It is a two story home and the first of three on the lot. It is being built in partnership with Families for Families. Families for Families is a collection of families from the Durham area who have come together to raise the money to sponsor a home. They come out every other week to build and are very excited to get all ages on site working with the Habitat Youth Program. Habitat is very excited to have them back out on site! Anthony is an AmeriCorps member in his second year of service and has worked with Robyn previously on the Young St. block of homes.