Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Homeowner-on site

In this challenging year, the word home has come to mean more than in the past. Home has become our office, our classroom, our workspace, our meeting room, our doctor’s office, our safe space, our sanctuary. While there is much in the world that is uncertain, we have the safety of our home, it’s conveniences, and it’s protection. 

But not everyone does. This year’s unprecedented challenges have put the dream of home ownership further out of reach as hard working families struggle to survive the ongoing trials of today’s reality. Affordable housing in Kittitas County was at a crisis level prior to Covid-19, with an estimated 29,246 housing units listed, only 518 are low-income or affordable housing. There are simply not enough options for affordable housing in the county. 

We have work to do. 

Why It Matters?

Being born into poverty, I struggled to understand why I should want to own a home. I did not understand what it would mean for my children, for our lives together, for their health and overall well-being. I spent years telling myself I didn’t want to be tied down with all of that, I was free to move around, which we did a lot, because that is what I knew. I grew up very poor. My mom was a single mom with five kids who had to move us around a lot. She worked two jobs, and grew too old, too fast. My background is common, too common, too normal. 

I grew up to be a single mom with three kids, who moved her kids around a lot. The pattern was repeating and had to fight to break the cycle of poverty and build a different life for my children. It doesn’t matter if you are wealthy or poor, we all want a better life for our kids. 

I am passionate about bringing home ownership to those who dream of something more, who dream of a better life, who know that they can do it, with just a little help from someone like me, from someone like you. 

Homeownership transforms lives. When families move out of substandard or vulnerable housing and into a simple, decent, affordable home that they own, families frequently improve their health, educational attainment and safety. We see increases in graduation rates, children’s physical and mental health, and the families overall net income and weath. What we also see is a decrease in children’s behavioral problems, reliance on government assistance, and a significant decrease in asthma and other health conditions. 

In 2021, we pledge to do all that we can to help build more affordable housing in Kittitas County, will you help us?

Understanding Affordable Housing: A Q&A With Melissa Bergren

Within small communities you will find a plethora of people wanting to make a difference in the lives of their friends, family members, neighbors and community acquaintances. For some this is accomplished through volunteering, supporting local non-profits or providing services to those in need. Melissa Bergren, Ellensburg resident and Mortgage Loan Officer for Academy Mortgage Corporation, has taken on all of these roles and more. 

If you want to learn more about how Bergren has impacted Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity during her time in Ellensburg, please enjoy the following video Q&A. 

Seven Stay-at-home Activities to Brighten Your Day

Being stuck in the house all day can become dull and possibly unhealthy without changing up your routine or activities. If you’ve been feeling like a couch potato or are just plain bored, check out this list of seven fun ways to fill your time while at home.

1. Bullet Journaling

Whether you have purchased an actual bullet journal or found one at the very bottom of your desk, any form of writing or design can help calm some nerves and enlighten your creative side. 

Bullet journaling is a specific form of journaling that involves creating spreads through precision granted by the dotted lines across the pages. If you’re interested in pursuing this as a relaxation activity, check out Pinterest for a source of inspiration and a starting point for your future projects.

2. Finding New Reading Material

You may be tired of the constant panic that waves over you as soon as you log-in to social media or your favorite news sites by the catastrophic and scary headlines. 

But, did you know that Habitat for Humanity International releases multiple interesting and informative news posts each month? If you are looking for a change of pace in your reading material, click here to read some of Habitat’s most recent posts.

3. Geocaching

Geocaching is a great activity for all families and friends across the U.S. where you are tasked with finding small capsules filled with traded treasures that have been hidden in plain sight. Simply download the app, pick a route close to your home, grab some companions and head out on this local treasure hunt.

4. Listening to Podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts? If not, now is the time to try out this new form of media! Whether you’re on Spring break or working from home, there are a multitude of podcasts available through many music streaming sites including Spotify, YouTube and PodcastOne

There are podcasts for everyone with topics ranging from celebrity news, historical anecdotes or personal stories; you are bound to find something engaging to listen to.

5. Spring Cleaning

Although it’s not everyone’s favorite activity, a full Spring cleaning of your home is almost due. Put on your favorite music, podcast or TV show and set aside a few hours to give your home a nice soak and re-organization. You will thank yourself later!

6. Writing Cards/Letters

Writing personal cards and letters has quickly flown out-of-style with varying other forms of communication that have surfaced in the past decade. If you’ve got extra time on your hands, try writing a letter to a friend or family member that you won’t be able to see for a while. This adds not only a personal touch to your message but is bound to make that person’s day.

7. Upcycling Old Clothing/Furniture

Many people aren’t shopping for non-essentials right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t change the appearance of your space by giving new light to items you already own. 

Whether you have an outdated dresser that needs new life or you just bought some vintage jeans from the Habitat Store, there is bound to be an item in your home that could use some refurbishing. Pick up that pair of jeans, find some scissors and cut them into shorts or even add a bunch of rips. 

There are tons of simple ways to change your clothes or decor without spending money or leaving the home!