“I never would have thought that a single person with my income working in education would be able to buy a house,” Lindsay says. It’s a situation that’s become too common, especially for millennials like Lindsay. The cost of housing has skyrocketed over the last few decades and wages haven’t kept up. Millennials can’t afford the starter homes their parents were able to buy. That’s why Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is so important.
The Distant Dream of Homeownership
Lindsay was living with a roommate who also worked in education. Her roommate was fortunate to have help from her family in buying the home—like so many buyers these days. For years, Lindsay longed to put down roots in the East Side of St. Paul near the Montessori school where she works as a Program Manager.
“Being a Montessorian, it's really important that you are in your community. I wanted to show the kids the Montessori philosophy of taking care of our community because we also live here, and it’s important to take care of it.”
But homeownership seemed out of the question with her income. Even moving into a new rental seemed impossible—she could maybe afford a studio apartment, but that was it.
“Right away after I hung up with my advisor at NeighborWorks, I went online and got the application from Habitat and started working on it.”
From that moment on, Lindsay was surprised at how quickly and smoothly the process went. She completed her homeownership education right away. She had a Realtor lined up, and he was also delighted to learn about Habitat’s open market pathway. Every step of the way, Lindsay was impressed by all the support she got from Habitat.
“What stood out to me is the amount of people who work for organizations like Habitat and want people to get into homes,” Lindsay shares. “Just the care and empathy that they have and the resources that are available. It’s not every day that you have people saying, ‘let’s get you into a house’ and ‘how can we help you get to that point?’ Especially when you feel like you don’t have the income to have a house and the banks are telling you that you don’t. I've recommended Habitat many times because I was just so impressed with the process...my expectations were far exceeded.”
The Dream Comes True
Once Lindsay was financially ready, she put in an offer on an East Side home. Within three days, her offer was accepted. On a cold day in March 2023, she closed in the morning and then immediately moved in.
“I was elated to be able to have a house!” Lindsay remembers. She quickly felt connected to her home and her community. When a big snowstorm hit the week after she moved in, a neighbor shoveled her sidewalk. Even her 16-year-old Chihuahua Lily quickly fell in love with the home.
“I got my couch like a month after moving in and that’s when I really started to feel settled. Then all of a sudden, Lily started playing with her toys out of the basket, and I haven't seen my dog play with toys in like three years. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is this? What is she doing and who is this dog?!’”
Putting Down Roots
Lindsay loves that her home is just a five-minute drive from work, so she can check on Lily over her lunch break. Lindsay’s proudest homeownership moment so far is when she gathered family to help paint her garage that hadn’t been painted in probably 50 years. Next, Lindsay is focused on putting down roots in her community—both figuratively and literally.
“I’m an avid gardener and cooker and canner, so my dream for my home in the next couple of years is to have a completely edible landscape and a prairie restoration with native plants.” Lily is a big fan of Lindsay’s gardening plans: “I do all the hard work. Lily just gets to lay in the grass, eat cucumbers, and have the sun beat down on her, and it's her favorite part of the summer.”
As Lindsay approaches her one-year anniversary of homeownership, she’s so grateful that Twin Cities Habitat helped her become a homeowner. She shares her story regularly because she wants everyone to know about Habitat.
“I fully believe that everyone deserves housing. How that looks is different for everyone, but everyone's basic needs deserve to be met.”