Community activist achieves dream of homeownership
Columbus resident Amber Broadus is passionate about helping her community. Here’s her story of facing challenges head on to become a homeowner with help from Habitat for Humanity.
With the titles of “mother” and “activist” already established, Amber Broadus, of Columbus, Ohio, has now added “homeowner” to her list of accomplishments. The 36-year-old single mother of four has been successfully balancing her family and passion for helping others, and recently teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to achieve a new financial goal.
As someone deeply invested in her community through volunteer work, Amber works with a number of local partners to help kids and families stay active and engaged during COVID-19. She also manages a local food produce drive. “I’m one of the lead managers and it’s really fun. We have so much high energy that the people who come through just absolutely adore us. We can’t do it without our volunteers,” she says.
While Amber was making a difference in her local community, she became driven to establish a solid foundation for herself and her family as well. “I found myself really wanting to own a home as my income started to increase,” says Amber. “I had a Section 8 voucher, so my mentor told me I needed to try Habitat for Humanity.”
Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has become a global force for positive change. The nonprofit organization is present across the U.S., along with 70 additional countries, developing better housing for people in need. As part of its mission, Habitat aims to teach lifelong skills that will allow its program participants to create a sense of stability. In acquiring their property, homeowners pay an affordable mortgage and work side-by-side with volunteers to build their homes.
U.S. Bank has supported Habitat’s mission for more than 30 years through philanthropic grants, investments and employee volunteerism. Between charitable contributions and investments, U.S. Bank has provided more than $125 million to local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, helping build and renovate thousands of homes.
When Amber applied to purchase a home through Habitat for Humanity, her application was initially denied, but she remained hopeful and determined to continue working toward her goal. She used her savings to pay off some outstanding debt, and within a week, she was on the road to success. “I worked on exactly what I was told I needed to work on, and then I was accepted into the program, and I was ready to own a home. I’m just one of those people with grit and resilience, and I don’t stop when I ask for something.”
In addition to her personal drive, the resources Amber found through Habitat for Humanity provided support with the down payments and a voucher that offer assistance on mortgage payments for a year. She also participated in “sweat equity,” which is the process of dedicating hours toward helping with the build and educational workshops. These can be completed or donated by multiple people working together. “I dedicate my Saturdays to work on the house,” she explains. “I got the chance to bounce to other people’s homes and help with their hours and homes too.”
Through a financial literacy course through Habitat for Humanity, Amber learned to make the most of tax credits that she qualifies for. The course helped her learn how to update her W-2 forms so that she would receive a bit more take-home pay in her paycheck every two weeks, instead of as a lump sum after filing taxes. She says this change made the difference between needing to find a part-time job or not. She also says she learned a lot about the process of buying and owning a home through a home ownership course as part of the program. “Habitat literally walks you through the entire process,” she says.
Amber has put so much energy and hard work into home ownership, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “While all this was going on, I was just like, ‘wow this is really happening,’” she says. “It gave me more confidence, more clarity, and the fact that I was able to purchase a home – now I am literally giving my children something that they can have, that we can build wealth from.”
In fact, she’s even encouraging others to apply for the same program. “I want more people, especially women that have been in my shoes, to have this experience. There are some single moms that aren’t living in their own homes, so the support that they get, and their family, is great. I just want other women to experience what I’ve experienced.”
Looking ahead, Amber plans to continue helping others any way she can, citing her mother as her inspiration for helping those in need. “A lot of people need support and need help,” she says. “I’m just being me, helping the community.”
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