The Lavinder FamilyHelena Homeowners
“We are a family of five people, two adults and 3 children. Throughout our ten years of marriage, we have had to move seven times. We have always lived in questionable neighborhoods, or have had some bad landlords, or huge problems with the apartments themselves, or a combination of the three. We have learned that the cheapest apartments aren’t always the best. We tried several times to get a house the traditional way, but it always fell through because of various financial obstacles. We have been eager to find our own home for our children, where they could safely play outside in the backyard, where we aren’t throwing our money away anymore, and where we wouldn’t have to move again.
Johnathan worked on Habitat houses through the AmeriCorps program, Montana Conservation Corps, when he was in high school. Because of that experience, he knew a little bit about the program, but he still had a very limited knowledge of it. Before we looked into Habitat further, we both thought it was a program that gave a free house to people that desperately needed it. We were reluctant to look into it at first because we thought that Habitat only helped one out of thousands and thousands of applicants, and we were under the impression that the houses weren’t very high quality. After looking at pictures of Habitat houses, we realized that they are actually very nice. This made us decide to apply even though we thought we probably wouldn’t get accepted. Throughout the application process, we realized that Habitat helps out far more people than we originally thought, and it is feasible to get accepted. We didn’t get picked the first time we tried, but we ended up getting selected the second year we applied. Your chances of getting accepted go up the more times you apply. We realize now that it’s not just this impossible program to get into and we could have applied years ago and been selected earlier. We also realize now that they are not free houses and you have to take out a home loan, but it’s way more flexible because Habitat helps facilitate this process. We have come to know that the homes Habitat builds are just like traditional houses on the market, but they are more affordable because of the work you and your neighbors put into them rather than hiring a large team of contractors to build them for you.
It has been so enjoyable being out on the build site and building a bond with our future neighbors. We are really looking forward to actually knowing our neighbors because out of all of the places we have lived, we only knew two or three of them.
We are learning valuable home maintenance skills and gaining confidence in areas we never would have explored otherwise.
This house means so much to our family. It is a huge investment that will help provide stability and happiness for us for a lifetime. Our kids will finally get to grow up in a safe home and in a good neighborhood. We will finally own a home that is actually ours and we will have more freedom to make it our own. We will also be able to build equity rather than wasting our money on renting inadequate housing. Our whole family is so excited to move in!”
-Johnathan and Jessica Lavinder, Helena Homeowners