A Forgotten Victim Of The Housing Crisis

Habitat for Humanity

Housing's forgotten victims © olly - Fotolia.com

Many individuals, from all walks of life have had it tough the last few years. The jobs outlook, in reality, is bleak in many areas, which contributes to not only real financial difficulties, but also perceived ones.

The housing “crash” did more than put people out of their homes, it damaged the belief for many, especially those who have never owned a home of their own, that buying a home is possible, instilling the erroneous idea that buying a home was something that “somebody else” could do, not them.

Habitat for Humanity is a well known organization striving to not only ensure that individuals get the help they need to become homeowners, but to instill the belief that home ownership is achievable, that with a bit of “sweat equity” individuals whom much of society perhaps looks down upon or disregards, could beat the “odds” and have a home to call their own.

This “demographic” has been lost among much of the hyperbole coming from Washington, and it’s counterparts across all fifty states. Concerns about the effect of foreclosures, short sales and the like, all of obvious importance, overshadow the impact that fears about the economy have made in the recovery attempts of the marketplace.

The fears of instability, while affecting a great deal of the marketplace, are felt perhaps more profoundly among individuals who have never had the benefit of owning their own home. It shouldn’t come as any surprise then, when this worthy non-profit reports that they are having difficulties finding any takers for their programs.

Maggie Monroe-Cassel, executive director of Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts explains why her organization is having a hard time finding homebuyers to put into homes. “It’s mainly related to the culture and fear of buying a home.”

Monroe-Cassel, who notes that the trend is being felt all across the nation, feels that the problem is psychological, not economic. “Overall, there is a mentality that this is not a time to buy a house,” she said. “For our families, it’s never a time to buy a house, so this is no different for them.”

Brenda Gould, interim executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell, echoed Monroe-Cassel’s complaints. Gould noted that finding families is so difficult that they’ve finished a home in Bedford which is sitting empty, waiting for a family.

“I’d love to get five or six families in need and — boom, boom, boom — help them out,” Gould said. The organization’s goal is to have a list of eligible families to pick from, but that isn’t the case right now.

In some cases, individuals are turned away because they make too much money to qualify, or not enough to be able to afford payments.

“They have to have a job, and there’s a lot of people without jobs,” said Gould, noting that disability income counts, but unemployment does not.

Habitat is providing more than just a home, according to Monroe-Cassel, they are providing hope. Although her clients weren’t affected directly by the real estate bubble, she believes that their “hope” was negatively impacted.

“If you’re working hard and paying your bills, we could very well be that little shred of hope you need,” continued Monroe-Cassel.