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First-Ever Family Vacation

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We love hearing success stories from our families—it is “gas in our tank” as we like to say. The other day, our Family Support Administrator, Jeff Paul, was catching up with a Habitat homeowner who moved into her home last October. She is a single mother with three children. Asheville Area Habitat’s homeownership program is designed to set families up for success. When we hear a story like the one below, it is affirmation that the process is working.

Here, we see three aspects of our program at play: All partner families are required to take classes prior to purchasing their home. Among the many classes, one is “Manage Your Money” offered by OnTrack Financial, where families learn about budgeting and planning ahead. Another is our Homebuyer Education Class, taught by Jeff, in which he teaches families how to wisely purchase a car without creating a new financial burden for their family. Additionally, all Asheville Area Habitat houses are Green Built NC certified—they are environmentally friendly and very energy efficient. Of course, once the family purchases the home, it is up to them to use what they learned.

What Jeff had to report from their conversation was definitely gas in our tank!

I had a nice conversation with Felicia today out at Swannanoa. Felicia closed on her Thrivent sponsored Habitat home last fall. I asked how her summer is going, she said “AWESOME!!!” Since moving into their house, she has been carefully monitoring her expenses and is amazed at the difference the house has made. Her water bill runs about $80 every other month and her electric bill has not been above $83. Previously, in her trailer, those were numbers to dream of. Recently, her minivan started causing trouble and was in need of some very expensive repair work. She shopped around and found a newer vehicle for a smaller payment, so she traded in the old minivan. She said she has been very careful with the extra money at the end of the month and has been making sure she stashes a portion of the savings in the bank.

During our conversation, her daughters came running out; they were all excited because, “Mom is taking us to the beach!” This is their first vacation as a family…EVER! Felicia said that in the past she was always too stressed out about making ends meet, their living conditions, and how she was going to provide a better life for her kids to even think about taking a vacation. They will soon head to the South Carolina coast for a very well-deserved family vacation. Her Habitat house is most definitely the “hand up” that this family needed.

We parted ways after she showed me the flowers and vegetables her kids were growing. It made me proud to be a part of an organization that creates these types of opportunities.