We first met the Stricklands in mid 2017 when they applied for our home ownership program. The family of four faced many of the same housing issues as too many of our Haywood County families. They had moved several times because of rising rents and poorly maintained properties. The home they were renting at the time we met them wasn't much better than the others, and the $700 per month rent for the small mobile home was stretching their budget. The budget was especially stretched in the cold months when the electric bill would rise to several hundred dollars despite the house not being very warm. The situation was stressful and felt hopeless for the entire family.
The Stricklands were accepted into the Haywood Habitat program later the year we first met them. Since then, they have invested more than 550 hours in building their home, and have attended homeowner education classes about budgeting, insurance, home maintenance, and other topics. They've made friends with Habitat volunteers and their new neighbors, and created a whole new network of support. They feel hopeful and positive about the future.
This week, the Stricklands closed on their brand new home. They are homeowners! They will pay an affordable mortgage equal to the actual cost of building their home, and thanks to the energy saving features of the home, won't have to dread the colder months and the heating bills that used to go with that. They are dedicated to paying forward what our community has done for them, and are already helping others build their homes and encouraging them along the way.