At the age of 16, Brittany became a mother and quickly learned how to balance school life while caring for a newborn.
“Even though I was a teenage mother, I still managed to go to school, work and get my high school diploma, and then eventually got an Associate degree,” she remembered. “I have been a single mother since day one.”
The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro is the most overvalued market to buy or rent in the country. Like many in our area, Brittany couldn’t afford the rising home prices.
“All I wanted to be able to do is give my son a nice house,” she said. “Something for the both of us to call home. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the high cost of rent.”
The two had been living with family members. At one time, there were as many as nine people sharing the home. Now they’ve closed on a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Habitat’s Journey Together neighborhood in the city of Fort Myers.
“It was a lot to go the traditional way of [getting a home],” Brittany said. “It’s not affordable, it’s very hard. Especially with the interest rates.”
When she learned she wouldn’t be able to afford a traditional mortgage, a friend told her about Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties. After researching its Affordable Homeownership Program, she applied and got selected to partner.
“It feels good having our own space. It’s fun and it’s nice,” said Manny, Brittany’s son. “Now we have a house that’s perfect for us. I get my own bathroom, too.”
After completing Habitat’s homeownership requirements which included volunteering, meeting with a housing advisor and paying $2,000 in closing costs, Brittany and Manny experienced the unique opportunity of celebrating their home dedication and closing on the same day. Brittany will pay an affordable mortgage that’s 30% of her income with no interest.
“It’s doable, but you have to put the work in,” Brittany explained.
“It’s just me and my mom now,” Manny smiled. “Hopefully good things come our way.”