Something to Build On

“I want to leave my kids something. Something where they can see that mom and dad put everything into this, and now this is what we have. Where I came from, people don’t have that. When they pass, there is nothing to pass on. Just bills. That’s why I want to own a home. I want my children to see that I’m a homeowner.”

– Michelle, Future Habitat Catawba Homebuyer

A strong home and predictable mortgage are powerful tools that have opened doors for countless hardworking families across our community.

However, for millions of renters in America, the door to self-reliance remains shut: unpredictable rental situations leave families vulnerable to increasing rent costs, poorly maintained units, unsafe living conditions, and a lack of affordable alternatives. Without your support, families throughout our community face an uncertain future.

Meet Sean and Michelle. Originally from Philadelphia, this outgoing couple has embraced life in Catawba County. Michelle builds regulators with a manufacturer in Conover, and she is “awesome at it.” Sean worked three jobs while Michelle was pregnant. After a stroke forced him to retire from his dream career as an electrician, Sean now spends his days raising the couple’s two sons, Stephan and Anthony.

However, it is hard to plan for the future when you wake up facing housing instability each day.  The couple currently lives in an older rental in dire need of upkeep. “It’s hard living in a rental,” Michelle says. “Life happens, and there is nothing you can do about it.” Daily life in this unit is full of concerns like apartment inspections, fear of kids accidentally breaking something, and rules against making much needed repairs – even if the family does it themselves.

“They aren’t doing anything to the house. But they raise the rent. I don’t know how you can raise the rent if you’re not making improvements,” Michelle reflects.

Unfortunately, Sean and Michelle’s situation is not unique. Prior to the pandemic, 3.7 million American households faced an eviction filing each year, which threatened their current housing, their immediate safety, and their future stability.

Now, the combined impact of expiring eviction moratoriums and a 17.8% increase in the median nationwide rent in 2021 means communities across the country – including Catawba County – are facing a tidal wave of housing insecurity. This falls disproportionately on our most vulnerable neighbors, leaving them in imminent risk of losing their home.

That’s why just like so many other families in our community, Sean and Michelle are partnering with Habitat Catawba Valley to build a home – and a legacy.

Through The Cottages at Ridgeview project, Habitat Catawba Valley is currently aquiring substandard and vacant properties, and replacing them with affordable, energy-efficient craftsman homes. With your support, this transformation will increase safety and strength in our community, protect vulnerable renters from predatory landlords, and provide future homeowners like Sean and Michelle with something solid to build on.

Our goal is to raise $49,400 to transform abandoned structures into better beginnings; your generous gift today helps make that vision a reality. Will you partner with your neighbors as they improve their living conditions and invest in their futures?

With Habitat and with your support, parents like Sean and Michelle are building a house, financial flexibility, and a more secure future.

And you can join them. When you partner with families through Habitat Catawba Valley, you provide the tools these families use to build the strength, stability, and self-reliance that become the foundation of a more secure future.

“I’m proud of our situation, I never thought we would be here,” reflects Sean. “I lost my parents. And in the back of my mind, I hear my father saying all the things that I should do in life. And now, I think my father is proud of what I’m doing.”

– Sean, Future Habitat Catawba Homebuyer