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. 

Meet Shawnté

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! 

We invite you to join a Durham Habitat partnership. Click here to volunteer or donate! Click HERE to follow the progress on Shawnté’s new home!

You also can see a short interview with Shawnté that we featured in our Neighbors Helping Neighbors video last April