Quinette first walked through Habitat’s door nearly a decade ago. At the time, she thought the organization would be a quick fix to her housing needs.
“I’m like OK if I got cash, I could show that I’m working, and I have income coming in—[then] boom– I got a Habitat house,” recalled Quinette about her pre-conceived notions about Habitat. “But they said, ‘no, it goes by your debt-to-income.’ ”
At Habitat, families wishing to buy a home through our program must show a need, a willingness to partner, and show they have the ability to pay back a mortgage. Quinette admits her debt was a problem during that first visit, and she wasn’t ready to commit to changing her financial habits.
Things changed, however, when she became pregnant with her little girl, Arianna. Wanting to provide a safe and stable home for her baby gave her the willingness to partner with the organization. Taking advantage of Habitat’s free HUD-certified housing counseling program, Quinette was able to pay off her debt, increase her credit score, and start saving. She applied for Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program and was accepted.
At the end of January 2023, Quinette was joined by more than two dozen volunteers and successfully raised the walls of her future home.
“To Habitat, [I want to say] thank you so much for working with me, not giving up on me because I gave up plenty of times. [My housing advisor] would call me and email me and be like, ‘Hey, what’s going on? We need you to do this… don’t back out now, you’re almost there!’“Quinette remembered. “So, I’m just very thankful.”
Families in Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program must complete 300 sweat equity hours, attend more than 20 hours of homeownership classes, at pay $2,000 toward closing costs. At closing, families buy their home through Habitat with a zero percent interest loan, and their mortgage payments are set at no more than 30 percent of their income.