The basics: Black female, 36. Working retail, making less than $35,000 annually, and in her fourth year at the University of Akron. Leases a four-bedroom home through Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, paying $691 a month. She lives with four daughters, two grandchildren and a niece who was recently placed in her custody.
Her future home: She has been homeless three times, but vows not to end up in that situation again. To remind herself and her children where they are headed, she drives them weekly past her dream home in Fairlawn’s Rosemont Ridge development.
“It’s a big, huge, white house with windows everywhere. There’s a big old lake in the back and a big balcony.”
She has put herself on a 10-year plan. By then, she predicts she will have finished college, landed a good job, paid off her debts — including education grants, and put away enough money for a down payment.
Who’s to blame for her problems up to now? She blames no one for making bad choices, though she knew little about things like how to budget money when she left her mother’s home at 16. She found help through job leads, scholarships and medical and dental care.
The future: “They [her oldest girls] had babies young like I did, but I will not let them get on welfare. The two oldest have finished high school, are in college at Akron U and work. I refuse to put my daughters into a system they don’t have to be part of. I refuse.
“And to remind them where we are going, we drive by my dream home. I don’t want them to forget.”
For the first time since the Great Depression, home values on average have declined. How has this affected your short-term plans, and what are your thoughts about the future of homeownership in general?
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