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Although he wasn’t immediately accepted into the Homeownership Program, Tyvel didn’t give up. He took a year, worked to become mortgage ready, and closed on his first home in a neighborhood he loves.

The road to homeownership

A conversation with Carly Buskirk, program supervisor

At Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, we believe that everyone deserves a safe place to call home. That’s why we partner with our neighbors as they undertake the journey to homeownership.

Program Supervisor Carly Buskirk leads the team at Habitat Omaha that partners directly with individuals and families and works alongside them through the entire process from application to homeownership.

Often, the homeownership journey presents obstacles. In some cases, a potential homeowner is denied financing, which can be a hurdle to achieving their dream. Carly says it takes courage to apply for a mortgage, and getting a denial letter can take an emotional toll. Even so, Carly and the Homeownership Team help applicants navigate the process and look for alternative solutions, if necessary.

By reaching out and educating future homeowners, Habitat Omaha helps individuals and families realize they have agency. They take steps forward and also learn how to manage the process, creating a sense of pride as they buy their first home.

LaTrenda explored many avenues for purchasing a house in Omaha. Through Almost Home, she put in the work to become mortgage ready – and now she’s a proud first-time homeowner.

Through the Almost Home program, people that don’t qualify for homeownership are given guidance on how to navigate the steps to become qualified. We work with individuals who are denied for any reason — income, collections, high debt to income ratio, bankruptcy — and refer them to appropriate agencies that can assist them, introducing them to resources that will continue to guide them to their goal.

When obstacles appear in the process, Habitat Omaha partners with individuals and families to tackle them. Carly tells the story of a hopeful homeowner that had a number of medical bills and didn’t see a clear path to paying them. The Habitat Omaha team worked with them to reach out to the collector and negotiate a manageable payment plan.

These future homeowners are our neighbors and part of our community. Carly understands that each person Habitat Omaha works with may need to make critical financial choices. For many in the program, their stability has been shaken by the pandemic’s impact. Through it all, we will continue to be there to help people navigate an already difficult process made more difficult by the uncertain times we are living in.

There are 90 clients currently in the Almost Home program — eight have closed on a house this year, 18 have been approved into the program, and one closed on a home in the open market. Habitat Omaha’s partnership with individuals and families is a commitment to helping neighbors on the path to homeownership.