The bell has rung, and school is officially back in session! For many of us, the start of this school year brings questions, trepidation, excitement – a whole host of new feelings to navigate. But one feeling that hasn’t changed for us? Confidence in the fact that Habitat families are poised for academic success. In any given year, we know that homeownership through Habitat is linked to positive educational outcomes. The last school year – with so many students’ homes becoming their classrooms – showed us just how critical that safe, secure haven can be when it comes to education.
A Home's Impact on a Child's Education
A Habitat home provides more than just a place for a child to lay his or her head, but the opportunity to grow in a space of his or her own. With the help of Bartlett Cultural Connections, we were able to conduct a Social Impact Study of Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley homeowners. According to the SIS, virtually all Habitat kids have a quiet place to study after they move into their Habitat homes, and they experience a significant improvement in their performance and confidence in school. Our study also showed that Habitat kids have a high school graduation rate of 87%, which surpasses the national average, opening up the opportunity for higher education. Habitat families are also making generational leaps, with 45% of Habitat kids reaching a higher education level than their parents.
A Home's Impact on Educational Investment
Before moving into their Habitat homes, many of our homeowners saved little, their income largely going to rent, utilities, food, and other expenses. This meant day-to-day savings were often skim, making it near impossible to think about longer-term educational savings. With the stability of an affordable mortgage, Habitat parents are able to invest more in education. Since moving in, families have been able to save up to five times more in college savings, and 20% of adult Habitat homeowners have increased their own level of education. In addition, our volunteer Family Resource Committee offers free tutoring for Habitat kids through the Homework Help program. And through our HUD-certified Housing and Financial Counseling Program, we also provide free financial education workshops and a free, online Financial Education Center that can help families stay on track and proactively plan for their future goals.
So, as students settle into a brave new school year, we’re optimistic about what the future holds for Habitat kids and their families – because we know that, especially in times like these, a Habitat home is the pivotal first step that changes a family’s educational trajectory for years to come.