THE CHALLENGE

Homeownership is still far out of reach for Habitat families. The median price of a Putnam County area existing single-family home at the end of 2016 was $149,900. Habitat families cannot qualify for a mortgage that requires a 10-20% down payment, a 6% interest rate. They would have to earn close to $48,000 a year in order to purchase a home in our area, The majority of Habitat families earn less than $30,000.

 

In Tennessee it takes an average hourly wage of at least $21.17 to afford a home or an hourly wage of $12.38 to rent according to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. In our region, the median hourly wage for a home health aide is $8.70, an auto parts counter salesperson is $9.30, and a file clerk's median hourly wage is $8.80.

 

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 American Community Survey data reveals that in Putnam County almost 40% of all renters and close to 20% of homeowners spend more than 30% of their income on housing.  We are fortunate to live in one of our country's most affordable communities, but the need for affordable housing continues to grow. In Putnamn County, 11,975 (45%) of households are considered low-income. Over 34% of those low-income households have severe housing problems as well.

 

Ideally the cost of housing is 25% of the household income. However, almost 50% of renters are spending 35% or more of their household income for rent. With median rent in Putnam County closing in on $700, it takes a household income of $33,600 to comfortably afford that amount by maintaining that ideal 25% ratio.

 

Our community has come together to provide over 75 families the opportunity to own the American Dream. Those families represent more than 200 lives that have been impacted

 

*Half of our partner families were able to move out of very poor housing conditions - electrical hazards, no running water, severe mold issues, improper heating,etc.

 

*50% were living in overcrowded conditions

 

*A third of our households have a special needs family member

 

*80% were living under severe cost-burdened situations

 

Why Homeownership Matters

 

Becoming a homeowner starts a path to a new destiny. Homeownership helps one realize the life-changing effects - they see financial independence, security and stability, possibilities for advancement through education, and more. As a Habitat homeowner who has actually helped build their home, they have the pride of knowing their hard work has allowed them to become an active member of their new community.

 

Children - Our Future

 

Studies have shown that a safe, healthy, and stable home environment is critical to the physical, social, and educational development and welfare of children. A University of Tennessee study found that children living in homes as opposed to those living in rental units:

*Are 25% more likely to graduate from high school

*Are 116% more likely to graduate from college

*Are 20% less likely to become teenaged mothers

*Are 59% more likely to own a home within 10 years of moving from their parents household

*Save taxpayers an estimated $34,000 in public expenditures

*Are more likely to vote

*Are more likely to become involved in their communities

 

When neighborhoods see an increase in homeownership, the schools will see an impact. As the children thrive in a stable home environment and more parents find additional time with less stresses - the schools can see positive effects.