Justin and Mandy, and their two school age sons had been living in unfit, unsafe conditions in an extremely remote location far from town.

With both working, they earned enough to support their family. They eagerly completed the homeownership certification requirements, so they could join a Self-Help housing group. Working 30 hours a week to build their house and others, they earned sweat equity to complement their modest savings.

Then one day, Justin was laid off. Immediately, he made looking for work his full-time job while still building houses 30 hours a week. Determined to not lose this opportunity to improve his
family’s living conditions, including moving just a few miles from town, he accepted job 35 miles away to ensure his household income was sufficient to stay in the Self-Help program.

Justin, a young single father, was living in a place unfit for his young son to spend the night.

Working with Highlands Housing to qualify for a mortgage, Justin obtained financing that allowed him to purchase a new home both he and his son could enjoy together.

They now live in a community of other Highlands Housing families that take walks together, share cookouts and have formed a neighborhood ball league which practices on the acres of
green space in the neighborhood.

One night, Beverly was forced to evacuate her home as she watched flames engulf memories of hers and her recently deceased husband of 35 years.

Though her home was insured for replacement value, she moved into an old apartment building thinking she’d spend the rest of life there. She did not know how to navigate the system to get the insurance company and mortgage company to release funds for a replacement home.

Highlands Housings staff helped Beverly negotiate the insurance payout and mortgage release, so she could build a new home that fit her budget yet was big enough for herself, her
grandchildren, her mother.

The rental home where Katisha and her young daughter previously lived was so poorly insulated that she kept the thermostat at 52°F in the winter, just so the electric bill would stay at or below $500 a month. In addition, she paid $300 a month to rent the home.

Katisha joined our self-help program with high-hopes of homeownership but never expected to see her energy bill drop to $100 a month as a result of the energy-efficient features built into her new home. Factoring in a monthly mortgage payment of $412, she is now able to save at least $288 every month for her daughter’s future.

Even though Katisha is employed, she could not have afforded to become a homeowner without the assistance of the Highlands Housing self-help program and the services available to our

Brittani is a single mother of two beautiful girls ages 5 and 7.

She has worked at a local daycare for the past 5 years. Brittani has always rented and has never been able to afford to rent a home that she felt was safe for her and the girls. But, through the self-help program and other programs, Brittani’s house payment will only be $50.00 more than her current rent.

When Brittani first made application, she wasn’t financially ready to be a homeowner; she had to overcome several credit issues from her past. But, she worked very hard on her budgeting and
financial health with help from our homebuyer education classes.

Brittani was determined to make a difference for her and her girls’ future, and she turned her situation around. She is very proud of her accomplishments. Her daughters were so excited to have their own rooms, they could hardly wait to choose the paint colors.

Patsy and her extended family still live in their native Wayne County, KY.

Having grown up on a dairy farm, she was no stranger to hard work and worked all her adult life as well. Before joining
a Mutual Self-Help Housing group in 2011 run by Highlands Housing, her home was a 1970’s vintage single-wide placed on land she owned.
Patsy was intrigued by the concept of self-help housing as a way to improve her living conditions and those of four other Wayne County households in the cohort. The sweat equity the five households earned by building 65% of each other’s homes made it possible for them to own new homes well within the reach of their modest savings and budgets. Patsy served as the
clerk and timekeeper for her self-help build group, and was one of two homebuyers who received special recognition from Highlands Housing’s construction supervisor, earning a “110% Effort” award.
In 2012, Patsy moved into the new three-bedroom home she helped build. Patsy’s dedication to promote positive change for resource-limited families through homeownership continues with
her service and insight as a Highlands Housings’ board member and meeting with new Self- Help groups to offer wisdom and encouragement. Patsy has one daughter and one granddaughter, and she says that she would love to see them have the same opportunities to stay in Wayne County as she has had.