When speaking with low-income families in the community, over and over again we hear about the things they WISH FOR: the things they wish for themselves, their families, and their futures.
I WISH I COULD OWN A HOME
Housing prices across the nation have skyrocketed, and homeownership is out of reach for more and more families. Housing prices have risen by over 12% in the past year, while wages increased by only4.5%
This is a sentiment shared by so many, but the past few years have been extremely difficult.
Families like Tina’s.Tina and her two children have been saving and working hard for YEARS to buy a home. Tina wants to set a good example for her kids. She has saved money,talked with lenders, and attended classes on homeownership. But no matter how hard she tried, no matter how many extra shifts she worked, she could not afford to buy a home.
When she applied to be a Habitat for Humanity homeowner in 2021, she thought this would be just another dream denied, so when she was selected to be the future homeowner for Habitat’s renovated home on the north side of La Crosse, it took a while for it to sink in. Tina breaks into tears every time she talks about what this means for her family, saying, “The Habitat for Humanity organization is making people’s dreams come true and laying some of these families’ biggest burdens to rest. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that!"
YOU can help more families achieve the dream of homeownership.
I WISH I HAD A SAFE PLACE TO RAISE MY CHILDREN
Low-income families often live in substandard housing, which exposes their families to unsafe and unhealthy conditions. A 2019 study by the New York University School of Medicine found that the neighborhood in which you live is a bigger predictor for health and life expectancy than any other factor.
Mold, lead-based paint, rodent infestation, and other health hazards are prevalent in low-income housing.
This was true for Kim and her family. Her two young daughters shared a small space that had been a garage converted into a bedroom. The poor insulation resulted in a huge heating bill each month, but no matter what, the room was always cold. The floors were slanted and dangerous. Kim worried about her girls. But that worry turned to hope in May 2020, when Kim closed on her Habitat home. “I am happy, nervous,and excited, but most of all relieved,” she said.
YOU can help more families find a safe place to call home.
I WISH I HAD SOMETHING TO PASS DOWN TO MY FAMILY
Homeownership is one of the leading catalysts for generational wealth-building for low-income families. High income households have 15 times more wealth than low-income households, and children of homeowners, regardless of their parents’ income, have higher educational attainments and earn higher incomes as adults.
We all want our children to have more opportunities than we did, and homeownership is a substantial contributor to the wealth of low-income households.
Wealth is crucial to families to provide economic security, economic opportunities, protection against unexpected crises, and access to their communities. Andrea pays well over 30% of her income (before taxes) on her monthly rent payment. With two small boys to raise, she has little money left over to save or invest. This was one of the primary motivators for Andrea to apply to be a Habitat homeowner: “I pay a very high price for something that isn’t going to be mine in the future,”she says. When Andrea closes on her new home this fall, she will be paying less for her mortgage than her current rent payment, and she will be building equity in her
home to provide for her and her sons ’futures.
YOU can help more families break the cycle of poverty by building a future through homeownership.
I WISH I DIDN’T HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN RENT OR HEAT
Low-income families regularly make difficult choices in order to keep a roof over their heads.
More than 1 in 6 renters in the City of La Crosse pay over50% of their gross income on housing, causing them to be severely housing cost burdened and leaving little left over for other basic needs.
For Sarah, it was always worrying about what was around the corner. An unexpected bill could spell disaster, and she often had to ask for help to make ends meet each month.This constant struggle and worry was what inspired Sarah to apply to be a Habitat Homeowner when she heard about the program on the radio. Sarah and her family have been in their Habitat home for over three years now. When asked how her life has changed, she reflects, “There is less of a need to rely on others and an ability to help others now.” Sarah has definitely made a commitment to give back, serving on Habitat’s Family Selection and Support Committee and also serving as a member of Habitat’s Board of Directors.
YOU can help bring hope and stability to families in your community.
This summer, we are opening a new application round for Future Habitat Homeowners. We will be selecting FIVE new families—our largest selection round yet! It’s because of your support that we can continue to grant wishes to families in need.
“The most fantastic magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish.” Pinocchio
Would you help make wishes come true for families in your community?
Donate to Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area today.
You can also set up monthly installments—a gift that will keep giving
Thank you for your support,
Bundle of roof shingles
Box of nails