Some of the housing problems our neighbors struggle with include:
- High rents which cripple the finances of low-income families
- Inadequate or unsafe conditions
- Chronic homelessness
Here in Whatcom County, about half of local low-income renters spend half or more of their income on housing, which often forces them to choose between housing and meeting other critical needs.2
Research shows that it owning a home is one of the most powerful tools available for permanently elevating families out of poverty. Habitat for Humanity’s home ownership program allows hard-working low-income families to purchase simple, decent homes at cost, with 0 percent mortgages.
How does home ownership fight poverty?
In multiple ways. Homeowners tend to:
- Have more economic opportunities
- Be more involved in their communities
- Increase property values and safety in neighborhoods
- Increase the local tax base, improving public services
- Have an financial safety net and wealth to pass on to their children through their home equity
Their children tend to:
- Be healthier
- Do better in school, leading to more successful adult lives
- Be more likely to own their own homes
At Habitat, we estimate that around 20,000 families in Whatcom County could qualify to purchase a home through our program. We do not have the resources to meet this need, but with your help, and by working together with other agencies and non-profits, government, corporate, and faith groups, we believe we can end inadequate housing in our community.
1. Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2010.
2. Whatcom Prosperity Project, 2010.