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First families … families first -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

First families … families first



For Habitat for Humanity families around the globe, building and purchasing a house is an experience characterized by firsts. The first shovelful of dirt to begin a new foundation. The first nail or block firmly set into place. The first vision of what it might be like to live somewhere clean, safe and affordable.

Less talked-about, but no less significant, are the lasts. The last rent payment before homeownership. The last disruptive move from one school to another in search of an affordable apartment. And, finally, the last mortgage payment.

From first application interview to last mortgage payment, Habitat’s focus is on improving families’ lives by increasing their access to safe, affordable housing. And though the focus is simple, the implications are profound and wide-reaching: Communities are nurtured, family finances stabilize, and—most significantly for the thousands of children who sleep each night in a Habitat house—educational outcomes rise.

The feature articles that follow tell the stories of several “first” families, highlighting their thoughts and emotions upon achieving the goal of paying off their mortgages. An article about the impact of housing on education—and the potential for a good education to begin a positive cycle of “firsts” in the social, mental and economic futures of children—follows as well.


Paid in First
and Learning Lessons