Housing initiative provides hope, opportunity, safety
Learn more about Amy’s journey to homeownership – thanks to Highlands Housing and a community of care
As a single parent of four children, including one with a disability, Amy didn’t think she would ever achieve the dream of homeownership. She lived with her parents after her divorce and was a renter before that.
As with others in similar circumstances, the obstacle of having a down payment toward a new home is simply overwhelming. Because Amy has a child with autism, as well as a toddler to care for, she is unable to work outside of the home. Her income is only 46 percent of the area median income, which is far below the national average.
However, because of assistance and guidance from Highlands Housing Corporation and the ROOTS initiative (Recycling Our Outdated Trailer Sites) —Amy is now a proud homeowner.
“I didn’t think I’d ever own my own home because of the obstacles,” Amy said. “This program gave me hope. We were always renters, and my kids have heard me talk about how I’d rather be paying on something that’s ours rather than throwing money away by renting.”
The ROOTS initiative is developing the concepts, educational components and financing mechanisms needed for this community project to succeed, said Jerry Rickett, President and CEO of Kentucky Highlands, the parent organization of Highlands Housing.
Rickett added the ROOTS initiative could become a statewide or national model for attacking a huge problem without needing a large federal investment. In Kentucky, there are more than 49,000 mobile homes currently occupied that were built before 1980.
“Safe, decent and affordable housing contributes to stability for individuals, families and communities,” Rickett said. “Homeowners also are more invested in their communities, pay more in local taxes and contribute to a less transient workforce.”
“When I found out that I would be able to buy the house, I couldn’t believe it, and my children were so excited,” Amy said. “This experience has shown them that you don’t ever give up. There is help out there.”
The ROOTS initiative is funded through grants from JP Morgan Chase and Rural LISC. Many other community partners also are collaborating on the initiative.