Affordable housing is important to family life
Little 10-month old Cecilia Lowe looks out with her big, blue eyes at her family’s new home in Ophir Village. Cecilia may not yet know how fortunate she is. but her family understands how blessed they are being provided the opportunity to own a home in Summit County.The Lowe family has lived in Summit County for five years. Jon works in the emergency department at the new hospital in Frisco and part-time with the ambulance service. His wife Elizabeth is an outreach specialist with Early Childhood Options. Holding down several jobs is not uncommon for families in Summit County. “We couldn’t justify renting at this time in our lives with two kids – Cecilia and Jake,” Jon said. “That’s what makes the Summit Housing Authority so important. We wouldn’t be able to own a place and live here without them.”The Summit Housing Authority worked with the Lowe family to purchase their first home in Ophir Mountain Village in June of 2002. After taking Summit Housing’s Home Buyer’s Education Class, a prerequisite for qualifying for Summit Housing Authority provided homes, the Lowe family then entered the lottery for a two-bedroom Ophir home – which they won. Part of the covenants of the Village is that when larger units become available, current homeowners get first rights to purchase. The Lowe family was able to step up to their new home which enabled them to stay put in Summit County.According to Elizabeth Lowe, “Our son Jake loves living here and talks about his neighborhood every day in preschool. It’s that sense of community pride that the Summit Housing Authority is helping to build.”Another responsibility of the Summit Housing Authority is to supply the necessary information on the unique home buying process in Summit County to local individual and families.Owning a home is a quick path to self-sufficiency. So far this year, the Summit Housing Authority has helped 45 families in Summit County gain access to a quality home. Without funding aid from local governments, the Summit Housing Authority couldn’t help local families like the Lowe’s stay in Summit County. Just how important is it for local families to own a home? In a study commissioned by Habitat for Humanity, findings included several startling facts: Children of homeowners perform 9 percent higher in math, 7 percent higher in reading, are 15 percent more likely to graduate from high school and two times more likely to go to college than children of non-homeowners.Helping our local workforce step up to home ownership so they can stay put in Summit County is a smart community investment. It’s this kind of investment that keeps the sparkle in little Cecelia Lowe’s baby blue eyes. Bonnie Osborn is the executive director of the Summit Housing Authority.
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