Home ownership seems like an impossible dream for many in the Fox Valley, but thanks to a unique partnership and a lot of elbow grease, it’s achievable.
Through Almost Home, a program of Goodwill NCW in partnership with Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity, a single mom named Shantelly put in the work necessary to become the first person in her family to own a home.
Almost Home helps current Habitat for Humanity homeowners remain successful in their ownership and helps Habitat for Humanity applicants improve their status for eligibility for home ownership. Participants work with a case manager who helps them identify challenges in their life, such as credit card debt and current rent burden that keeps them from saving money. In addition, they discuss pending legal issues and health concerns that may weigh on the participant’s shoulders. The client and case manager jointly develop a plan to work on those obstacles, with a goal of eventually being able to buy a Habitat home. But even if that purchase doesn’t happen, the client is in a better place after participating in the program.
Shantelly moved in with her three children right before the holidays, and Goodwill followed her journey.
In March 2018, The Almost Home program received grants to add an additional full-time Almost Home staff position so they could expand services for home repair, in addition to home ownership. Support came from a $69,180 grant over three years from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, which is supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., and other community partners, as well as a grant of $44,180 over three years from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation. Individual and family needs are assessed and comprehensive services (financial, vocational, life skills, social skills, etc.) are provided to address the identified needs.
For her part, Shantelly put in more than 300 hours of sweat equity. “I also take classes for budgeting, which I think is the most important part to keep everything on track for my mortgage and bills,” she says.
Welcome home, Shantelly!
For more information, contact Kristi Clover at Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity.
You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.