Kayra Jimenez is a great example of how stable housing has an immensely positive impact on individuals and families.
Everyone deserves safe, stable, and affordable housing
As a young adult Kayra Jimenez left her home country of the Dominican Republic to live in the United States. She hoped to find more opportunity for advancement and a chance at owning her own home.
When we asked Kayra what made her want to become a homeowner, she stated, “Well, that is actually a long story that goes back to when I was a kid and I first experienced being pushed out of my home.”
Housing Instability is a Traumatic Event
At 13 years old, living in the Dominican Republic, Kayra, her siblings, and her mother were evicted.
“It is very difficult to live in a house with your family and to feel like it’s your home and then be forced to leave. I felt unsafe and scared”.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t going to be Kayra’s last experience getting evicted. When she moved to the United States, Kayra once again was forced to leave the home she rented and scramble to find housing. She remembers feeling devastated that she had to go through this again. “I hated reliving this situation. I felt the same way as when I was a young girl; helpless. I can’t even describe the feeling of being pushed out of your home. It is a painful and devastating thing to go through. When I think about this journey it always makes me emotional and it makes me want to cry.”
Experiences of housing instability can be traumatic events. Research conducted by Hatch & Yun has proven that individuals who experience an eviction are more likely to report being in poor general health or experiencing mental health concerns; increased levels of despair, anxiety, and insomnia even many years after an eviction (Housing Policy Debate).
This was a defining moment in Kayra’s life. She vowed to never experience this again – making homeownership her biggest life goal.
“I didn’t want that for my kids, and I didn’t want that for myself either. That is what pushed me to pursue buying a home. It was my lifelong dream to own a home where no one could take it away from me”
The Satisfaction of Homeownership
Kayra began her home buying process by working with one of Acts’ HUD Certified Homebuyer coaches. Together, they created a Financial Action Plan and Kayra worked towards eliminating her debt. On March 3rd, 2023 Kayra closed on her home in Beloit. She couldn’t hold back her emotions when asked how it feels to be a homeowner. “This means everything to me. It’s the most important and most satisfying thing I have ever accomplished. Since I was 13 I have wanted to do this and I did it. This is all my doing!”. Kayra was proud to show off her living room, garage, finished basement and laundry room. “I have so much security. I feel happy and safe in my home. I want to keep working and show my kids they can achieve this too.”
The affordable housing crisis means many families with low-to-moderate income are facing the same challenges that Kayra has faced. At Acts Housing we believe everyone deserves safe, stable, and affordable housing, and that homeownership is one solution to housing instability.