Working with local families in the Habitat Partnership program, often involves becoming a coach and a cheerleader throughout the process. Homeownership is a life-changing milestone, and for most Habitat families it means learning or being exposed to new things – scary ideas like budgeting, banking, and being open about their family’s financials.
Truth is, the Habitat Partnership towards Homeownership program requires a big commitment from our partner families. It all starts with a personal and emotional commitment. They need a strong desire to own a home, the motivation to access possibilities to have a better future or the dream to provide stability for their children. It is in the roots of these personal yet collective motivations that the Family Services Department thrives in offering a hand up and works closely with the families in building perspectives about their own goals and crafting their own tools to be successful.
In this process, we also become the liaison between the family and a team of supporters all rooting for their success. From their interactions with donors and volunteers at the ReStore, construction sites and different committees, to dealing with the complicated world of mortgage lending and working accountably with their mentor-guided monthly assignments, we are with them. It is in understanding the importance and tremendous value of coaching families, through the short period of time they are with us before they purchase their home, that we find joy in what we do: walking beside them. It also means we get to learn throughout the process as well. Every partner family shares a new perspective which provides us the opportunity to be more creative and successful in our role as housing counselors and as people walking through seasons of life together.
In addition, as recent as last year, we both attended training based on HUD fair housing guidelines, to be able to provide Homeownership counseling to prepare “would-be borrowers” in all aspects of the home-buying process as well as the responsibilities of owning a home. This approach, in addition to referrals to other community partners, leads to a more informed community and over time, greater success in a tight market such as Bend.
It’s really powerful when the family you have been working with on a specific areaof growth or behavioral change, masters it and achieves success. And to know that what we do every day contributes directly to our community, impacting one family at a time, is a very rewarding feeling. If you have wondered about sharing the love for transforming lives, follow us on Facebook and find out when our next Home Dedication is happening. These events really sum it all!
Catalina Frank & DeeDee Johnson