Through faith in action, Austin Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build strong, stable and self-reliant communities.
Since 2000, income levels have only risen 25% while housing costs have risen 68%. This leaves many local families in impossible situations. Currently, 53% of low-income Austinites are spending almost half of their income on housing. This leaves little leeway for medical care, groceries, school supplies, insurance, etc. The strain of this stress has negative impacts on physical and psychological health, education, and upward mobility.
Affordable homeownership can put an end to those circumstances. It is the fastest way for a low-income family to accumulate wealth. It is the most viable way to break the cycle of poverty and create brighter, sustainable futures.
Austin Habitat for Humanity gives a hand up, not a hand out. All of our homeowners pay a down payment, put in 300 hours of sweat equity building their homes, and then pay a zero-profit, 30 year mortgage. They work extremely hard to change their circumstances, and in order for us to continue setting them up for success, we need the support of the community.
Become a part of building a more affordable Austin by donating today.
Affordable homeownership offers significant long-term economic, social and financial benefits for both low-income homeowners directly impacted and the broader community in which they reside. Homeownership raises the educational achievement of children, improves health, reduces crime, decreases dependency on public assistance, encourages greater civic engagement and generates significant economic activity.
Safe and stable homes are the foundation of successful families and communities. But owning a home is not possible for many of our neighbors. More than 25 percent of the city's workforce earns less than $13.50 an hour. About 36 percent of Austin residents earn less than $45,550 a year, or 60 percent of Median Family Income. As poverty increases, housing costs soar. In the past ten years, the median value of a single-family home has increased nearly 90 percent to $240,000. The average monthly rent for a 3 bedroom apartment is $1160. Only 35 percent of renter households can afford such rents without being cost-burdened.
That's a lot of numbers, but the truth is the affordable housing crisis in our community causes many families to live in overcrowded, deteriorating apartments in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Most of these families are spending the majority of their income on housing, and have little money remaining to pay for other basic necessities, such as food, healthcare, and clothing. Loss of a job or any unexpected expenses, such as a high medical bill, could mean an inability to make rent, forcing families to live in unstable transitional housing or worse...on the streets.
In addition, the homes low income homeowners were able to afford 10 or 20 years ago are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Of all the homeowners in Texas, as many as 21 percent are low income residents with extremely high costs. A third of the low income homeowners have paid off their mortgages, but still pay more than 35 percent of their income on property taxes alone. This leaves little money for other basic necessities and most often no money at all for home repairs. Years of deferred maintenance cause communities to deteriorate into squalor.
Now, more than 20 years later, Benita has a Master's degree in bilingual education. She was able to help each of her children go to college. She even paid off her mortgage early. Her life was able to stabilize and change for the better through the power of homeownership.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without Austin Habitat. They really changed my life and made me know that I can do anything if I just work hard." - Benita Martinez