After two long years of quietly and privately welcoming families home, on April 2nd, the Habitat community once again gathered together for a Home Dedication Ceremony, celebrating Bekmay and Presence’s new home. The family of eight will soon be moving from a cramped apartment into a new four-bedroom Habitat home in Tacoma.
When the family arrived to their empty, completed home on the day of the dedication, the kids immediately took to the stairs and little feet could be heard above as they explored their new space. Noting their footsteps overhead Presence shared, “Now, living in the apartment, I have neighbors knocking on my door saying ‘Can you tell them to stop? They are making too much noise.’ I tell them to stop, that there are people downstairs, but three year olds don’t listen. Now, you see, they are so happy.”
The oldest of their children, age 12, shared what home means to her. “A home is a place where you can feel safe…have what you enjoy and will need. A home is also a place where we can help each other, a place where you have family. It doesn’t matter if the house is big or small.”
Bekmay added, “We are going to be homeowners and we are so grateful for that. Thanks a lot for everything.”
Bekmay and Presence’s new home is a first for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity. While we’ve been building affordable homes in the region since 1985, this is the first we’ve sold under our new restricted resale model. Accomplished by retaining the land through a long-term, renewable and inheritable lease and selling just the house, this model provides permanent affordability.
Homeowners like Bekmay and Presence agree to only sell their home to another income-qualified buyer, which enables us to retain affordable housing stock for moderate and low income buyers generations into the future. Homeowners still accrue equity under this model and have all the stability and flexibility traditional homeownership provides.
Restricted resale is a refinement of Habitat’s pay-it-forward roots, making affordable homeownership sustainable even as the scarcity of land increases and home values continue to soar. Tacoma Habitat is one of the first organizations to use a land-lease model in Pierce County.