Solangi never knows how long she will stay in an apartment and how much the rent will go up from year to year. It’s a source of constant stress and frustration.
The teacher’s rent recently increased 8% on her one-bedroom apartment.
“I pay a large amount of money for something that is basically below average,” she said.
But when she looked into buying a home in late 2021, she found her teacher’s salary was not enough to afford a home in the current housing market.
“As a single person who is a teacher, homeownership seemed impossible,” she said. “I thought that this was a dream I would never get to realize.”
Solangi, who has her master’s degree in music education, moved to Orlando about a year ago from the Tampa area to begin teaching chorus for a local high school. She loved her job and wanted to stay in Central Florida but was hitting so many dead ends with her housing search.
“It made me feel like I did everything right and it’s still not enough,” she said.
Finally, she found a through street: She stumbled upon Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County’s website and started researching the homeownership program. It seemed like a great match for her. She applied to the program, met the criteria, which include a minimum credit score and household income range, and was approved. Construction will start in November on her energy-efficient home with an affordable mortgage in Silver Pines Pointe.
She looks forward to taking homeownership classes through Habitat University and completing her “sweat equity” hours, volunteer work that demonstrates her investment in Habitat’s work and mission. She can’t wait to leave behind the stress that comes with being a renter and to have a new sense of belonging.
“I will be committed to the area where I live and invested in the community, as opposed to renting where it is very difficult to become part of a community.” Above all, home will bring her safety and security. “It’s a permanent place where memories are made for many years. Knowing that you’ll be in the same home for years to come is a feeling like no other.”
Her home will have benefits way beyond its four walls.
“In education, we hear a lot like, ‘oh you can’t give from an empty cup,’ and it’s nice because I feel like my cup is being filled and then I can continue giving to my students.”
Learn about Homeownership: Habitat Orlando & Osceola offers energy-efficient three- or four-bedroom homes, customizable options and affordable mortgages. Learn more >>
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