Thursday, December 3, 2015

"I love my home!" - One Year Homeownership

Not too long ago my family took a five mile hike at Morrow Mountain State Park.  The leaves were bright and the air was crisp. It was a glorious experience – at first. By the end of the hike walking was painful, we were exhausted, and sitting down felt marvelous. Five miles was a VERY long distance.

On the other hand, my usual commute to Habitat Cabarrus is just under five miles. It takes me 15 minutes door-to-door and I barely notice the drive. Five miles can be the blink of an eye or a physical ordeal – it all depends upon your vantage point.

Another concept that shifts with your vantage point is time. Now a classical physicist would say that time is a scalar quantity like mass, length, and charge. In other words, time is fixed. But ask any child how long ‘til Christmas and they’ll say FOREVER even if it’s December 23rd. On the other hand, every grandparent I know talks about how time flies by. The child and the grandparent have different perspectives on the same concept – time. 

Do you know where you were in November 2014? Do you remember what you did? Erica Shepherd and Jazman Crisco know. They moved their families into their Habitat Homes in November last year.

An average year provides multiple celebration milestones: jobs, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Hundreds of meals are eaten in a single Earth revolution around the sun. Countless hours are spent grocery shopping, sleeping, exercising, working, worshiping, crying, laughing, and living.

That’s a pretty good snapshot of Erica and Jazman’s lives too. The only difference being their vantage point. Now they live in their own homes and the view is different. 

Erica Shepherd - Habitat Cabarrus Homeowner
For Erica Shepherd the economic view changed after living in government housing - homeownership absolutely stretches her budget. She believes her home is worth it though. Erica’s biggest shift is that she no longer lives with the constant anxiety of perpetually awaiting word from the government housing authority that it’s time to move. She revels in her hard-earned stability.

Erica says, “I love my home! It still feels like a dream. I’m in MY house and it’s a great feeling. I can still smell the new home smell and it makes me feel so good because I know I have something I can pass to my children.”

For Jazman Crisco’s family the biggest (and best) adjustment has been the amount of space their home offers. It’s more than they ever had previously. Jazman sees the family finances moving in the right direction now. She regularly applies lessons learned from the homeowner program’s financial education classes. Jasman marvels at how often she uses the recipes she learned in the night classes. Quick and inexpensive meal options really help her out - especially with four children to feed.

Jazman says, “Habitat is an amazing program. It gives you a real sense of hope. You don’t live in stress wondering - how am I going to pay this bill. It puts you on a track so you can manage your finances and bills and succeed. “ 

Jazman offers a few words of encouragement to the next group that joins the Habitat Homeownership program. She says, “Keep your head up. The work itself is not hard. It looks hard at the beginning especially when you think of organizing the time commitment to the sweat equity hours. But keep striving. It will get here before you know it. It’s worth it. It’s bigger than you think.”

How long is a year? It depends upon your vantage point. 

In one year a human baby changes from a completely helpless infant to a child that sits up unassisted, eats solid food, and babbles with intent to communicate. A pineapple reaches maturity in 365 days, which coincides with the gestation period of a Grant’s Zebra. And in one year Jazman Crisco and Erica Shepherd have reached solace with their status as home owners.

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