On January 5, 2022, Community Members of Bahama Village, the City of Key West, and Habitat for Humanity will launch a six-week homeownership course for Bahama Village residents. The course will provide families with tools and resources to help them in the process of owning a home.
The course will cover a topic each week to help participants prepare for the possibility of owning a home. Topics include: How mortgages work; credit building; preparing a budget; home buying assistance; and closing on a home. Professional bankers and realtors from the community are volunteering their time to teach the class. Speakers include Suzanne Moore, Daunte Aguilar, Gisselle Garcia, Maggie Sayer, Marie Brouillette, and Jimmy Lane.
The idea for the course came from several workshops on affordable housing the city organized in the Spring and Summer of 2021 with Bahama Village community members. The workshops were organized at the request of City Manager Patti McLauchlin. Many residents expressed the desire for the project to include homeownership opportunities for working families.
“So many of those who came before us struggled to obtain homes to leave a legacy,” says Bahama Village Community member Lakay Barnett. “Homeownership helps to build generational wealth. We have to think about what we want to leave our children.”
Barnett, along with two other Bahama Village community activists, Kawana Staffney and Terrance Lopez, volunteered their time to work with city staff to develop the list of courses and organize attendees. The class is capped at 20 people and is already full, however, if it is a success, Habitat for Humanity and the city hope to repeat the course. Anyone interested in the next offering should email: Hannah@HabitatLowerKeys.org
“We needed to really listen to the Bahama Village community,” says City Manager Patti McLauchlin. “Listening meant that we not only heard but that we did something about it. I’m delighted that we are offering this course, and I believe it will help us keep our Bahama Village families in Key West.”
The course coincides with the recent award of the 3.2 acres affordable housing development to AH Monroe. The nonprofit organization has been working with the community since receiving the contract to hear and understand their needs. They have already increased the number of homeownership units from 16 in the original proposal to 28.
The homeownership course is timed to help families begin thinking about purchasing homes on the 3.2 acres.