Advocating for better housing policy

Chloe McNeal | February 22, 2024

“In a word, life as a homeowner is just better.” 

At Habitat Wake, our mission is to build homes, communities and hope. Going beyond the bricks and mortar, we partner with homebuyers to build not just homes, but also a sense of stability and belonging—or, as Habitat homeowner Keena puts it, a feeling of “better.”

This month, over 400 Habitat for Humanity employees, supporters and homeowners representing 43 states traveled to the nation’s capital to advocate for affordable housing as a part of the Habitat on the Hill conference.  

For Habitat homeowners, this event provides a platform to influence housing policy at a systemic level, and speak about how affordable housing and homeownership improved their own lives. This year, homeowners Courtney Maready and Keena Lee joined Habitat Wake on the Hill.   

“Advocacy is important because the voices of the people matter,” Courtney said.  

“When we speak to people that have the power to change the way our country addresses homeownership and we share our stories, we humanize the issues and put faces to the people the policies affect.” 

The stability that comes with owning a home makes life better for Courtney and her son, and allows them to live, beyond just surviving, Courtney says. 

Keena Lee, who has owned her Habitat home for more than 10 years, echoed Courtney’s thoughts in her conversation with North Carolina's Congressional delegation.  

“The word I’ve been using to describe my circumstances now is just ‘better,'” Keena says.  

“Better healthcare, better education, better choices for my children, better thinking, better relationships, better outcomes on all levels, and a better mom which means better children.”  

Keena spoke of her daughter’s dreams to be a doctor when she grows up. Before they had the stability of owning a home, those dreams felt out of reach.  

Since becoming homeowners, Courtney and Keena have both found joy and peace in realizing the questions they no longer have to ask. Instead of asking “How will we eat dinner tonight?” or “Who will we live with next?” the question becomes, “What kind of life can we now have?” 

As the housing crisis becomes increasingly daunting, it is clear how crucial a stable home is. 

Coming away from Habitat on the Hill, Courtney and Keena emphasize that there is hope even in these critical times, and that their voices and stories carry weight.  

As Habitat Wake homeowners take the lead in advocating for affordable housing, their stories serve as a catalyst for change. Through their advocacy, they are helping ensure that other families are also able to let go of the doubt and uncertainty that comes with housing and instability, and instead be excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.  

The stories of these homeowners, supporters and advocates are just the beginning. They create ripples, which then turn into waves of change and progress. 

Stories like Courtney's and Keena's highlight the need for Congressional support toward policies that increase the supply of safe, decent and affordable homes. We ask that Congress support vital housing and community development programs, and that they increase supply of safe and affordable homes by supporting the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act.

Join us by calling on congress to invest in affordable homeownership supply today.  

Take action here!