“Having zero interest on your mortgage payment is huge. I don’t think people understand what a gift that is,” says Lily when talking about why she decided to apply for Habitat Tucson’s Homeownership program.
Lily’s motivating factor to own a home is her children, Michael and Makayla. She wants a better home environment for her them. Currently, the family lives with Lily’s parents and sister. Lily’s mother is ill and as a result, Lily has become her caretaker. It feels like an all-consuming responsibility for Lily and she worries that Michael and Makayla are not getting enough of her attention.
“She’s my mom so I want to take care of her but it makes it harder to focus on my kids, make sure they’re doing their homework and getting the attention they need from me,” says Lily.
“The stress influences my mood and then my kids are in a bad mood. When you’re not in a good environment it dulls your happiness,” she says.
Right now Michael and Makayla have to share a room which can cause conflicts between the siblings, says Lily. Lily hopes that with more space, all three of them will have an opportunity to relax and focus on and appreciate each other in a positive way.
“I tell them, we’re really all we have. We have to respect each other. I think in the new home, they’ll do better in school too,” she says
One of Lily’s girlfriends from work was interested in the homeownership program so they went to the orientation together. Lily had always wanted to own her own home but roadblocks in her life kept turning up.
Lily works as a dispatcher for the towing company that she’s been employed at for five years and saving money by moving in with her parents.
“It’s been stressful to try and do it by myself. But in everything I do I try and make sure I’m doing something better for my children.”
She had considered renting again but her father encouraged her to stay with the family to save money.
“Every time I rented I would think I’m just giving away my money. It’s not going towards anything,” says Lily.
Since being accepted into the program, Lily has been going to the build site weekly. She says she likes the financial classes the best.
“Those classes would be classes that I would have to pay for anywhere else. I love that Habitat offers that as part of the program. They are truly getting you ready for homeownership. It’s preparing me to be independent. I also like the construction work. Basically, I just love learning new things,” says Lily.
Before Habitat, Lily was looking into buying a home on her own, looking into mortgages through banks. She says she would have had to put $30K down just to be able to afford a monthly mortgage. She said being accepted into the program couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Habitat means a lot to me. It made homeownership an actual possibility for me. You know, some of us are stuck in this demographic of people that are trying our hardest and we’re doing okay but just not good enough to have life goals within our reach. And that’s when Habitat comes in and pulls us up,” says Lily.