Among Canadian homeowners surveyed, 91 per cent say owning their own home is one of their greatest achievements in life. Beyond marking a considerable accomplishment, owning an affordable home provides a family with many benefits that increase their quality of life in several different spheres.
In a Canada-wide survey of Habitat homeowners, we examined how the families’ lives have changed since they found their place to call home. With a little hand-up from Habitat, homeowners are able to achieve the strength and self-reliance needed to build better lives for themselves and their families. Here are six meaningful benefits owning an affordable home brings the family:
1. Heightened well-being of children
Eighty per cent of the Habitat families surveyed had children living with them at home. There’s a direct link between housing quality and the well-being of children, with research showing that the impact of affordable housing includes positive effects that will follow them throughout the rest of their lives.
Much of this increase in well-being stems from boosted confidence. Having a place to call home eliminates frequent moves, meaning fewer school transfers. This allows children to set up a “home base” where they can make friends, develop meaningful connections with their teachers and engage in extracurricular activities.
2. Better school performance in children
Across the board, Habitat homeowners have found that since moving into their new home, their children’s grades have increased, they enjoy school more, have higher rates of attendance and better behaviour while in school. This could be attributed to less transferring between schools and more room within their home for studying.
According to a campaign spearheaded by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, children living in affordable housing are more likely to thrive in school, enabling them to attend post-secondary education, which will allow them to build a better future for themselves.
3. Children participate more in activities
Participating in activities beyond those mandated in school benefits children in a myriad of ways. It enables them to explore new interests, teaches the importance of teamwork and collaboration and will give them a leg-up when applying to post-secondary education.
Participation in sports increased from 50 to 61 per cent.
Music and arts
Involvement in music and arts-related activities jumped from 18 to 30 per cent.
Children’s engagement with volunteering rose from 29 to 45 per cent.
Additionally, many children help volunteer with Habitat to contribute to their family’s 500 volunteer hours that are completed before they can move into their home.
4. Improved mental health
There are many ways living in stable, affordable housing helps improve an individual’s mental health. This can include reduced financial stress, improved family dynamics and better physical health.
Within Habitat homeowners, 86 per cent said they are happier now than they were before moving into their home.
Family life improved for 89 per cent of homeowners. Many also reported feeling more supported as a result of being involved in a wider community with Habitat for Humanity, as well as from building connections with other Habitat homebuyers.
5. Better health overall
Prior to becoming a homeowner with Habitat, many families lived in housing conditions that posed a risk to their health. Since moving into their new home, 78 per cent of families reported that their health is better now than it was in their previous housing.
Over 70 per cent said they’ve experienced fewer colds, flus, allergies and asthma symptoms.
With Habitat’s affordable home payments, families have more money left over for other expenses, like food. Eating a balanced diet is greatly beneficial to an individual’s health, and families now have a greater ability to purchase fresh produce and nutrient-rich foods.
6. Financial stability
Habitat homeowners pay a mortgage geared to their income, whereas their prior accommodations generally charged more for rent than they could afford. After moving into their Habitat homes, 58 per cent of homeowners said they’re better off financially now than they were before they moved in.
This provides families with a sense of stability, knowing they’ll be able to afford to keep their house.
Every home that Habitat HM builds provides a family with not only a shelter over their head, but also with innumerable benefits that will continue to impact their family for generations to come. A hand-up with Habitat allows homeowners to build a better future for themselves.
To find out how you can help support a family in creating a better future for themselves, click here.
To read the full report on our survey of Habitat homeowners, click here.