Homeownership Builds Community

Homeownership is about so much more than a simple roof over one’s head. It’s also about community, which means finding a neighborhood that feels like home. 

For Shukri Yusuf, who arrived in the Seattle area from Mombasa, Kenya at 12, West Seattle has been home since 2004. Over the years, Shukri got married there, had a son, and became a single mother in 2020. She remained in West Seattle throughout where she teaches in a neighborhood public school, living with her parents as she saved for a down payment on her own home. 

The more she saved, though, and looked around Seattle for housing, the more she realized she was severely out-priced. She feared she would have to leave West Seattle, or even the state, if she was to find an affordable house for herself and son, Zayn. The idea of leaving her beloved neighborhood for a house she could afford in a place where she knew no one was a poor option and one she dreaded.

Shukri explored any and all possibilities in her search for a way to remain in the community and still have a home of her own. She considered getting a down payment grant for a condo, even though getting a condo anywhere close to her beloved West Seattle neighborhood was impossible. As she searched, she learned about Habitat for Humanity through the King County homeowner assistance website. With help from Habitat, she was able to purchase a newly constructed, three-bedroom home in West Seattle – the first home she’s ever owned.

Shukri and Zayn now live in their own home in the neighborhood they call Home. It’s just five minutes from the school where Shukri teaches. Zayn is growing up in a supportive community where he’ll have maximum opportunities to thrive. For Shukri, this means planting roots and growing herself in a safe place with friends and family to share life’s ups and downs. As she says, Shukri is finally Home.

“When you have a community that you connect with it can offer you support in all of life’s phases. I feel a part of the community that I have called home since 2004 and I feel supported through some of the tough times that I have experienced in the past … I see it as my duty to help and support others that need help in my school community.”

More than a house, a home of one’s own builds Community through a sense of belonging and pride in the neighborhood called Home. It’s a hidden legacy that comes with help from Habitat for Humanity.