From house dedication to final settlement, Ngaruawahia’s Pendergrast family’s progressive home ownership journey has been truly amazing. The Pendergrasts are a true example of how dedication and motivation can bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. “Neither of our parents owned their own homes, so I didn’t think it was ever going to happen for us,” said Laura. Doug (33), Laura (27) and children Thomas (7), Theodore (5), Katherine (3) and Elizabeth (1), recently became homeowners after just four years of being with Habitat for Humanity’s progressive home ownership programme. Manufacturing supervisor Doug and homemaker and baker Laura had poor living conditions when they approached Habitat for Humanity Central North Island 2015. “It was mouldy and had no insulation. Thomas’ bassinet kept getting mould growing on it and I was like, no, we can’t stay; it is a health risk” Laura said. The Pendergrasts moved in to their Habitat home in 2015 and began the rental stage of their home ownership journey. “I remember sitting on the corner chair and thinking, this is my blank canvas and we can do whatever we like”, she said. For Laura, growing up in rented houses and previously moving six times in two years she was now proud that their names were on the house title. “Doug and Laura Pendergrast. We own this house. Something’s gone wrong? That’s cool. We can fix it. It’s up to us. We are responsible,” Laura said. “It’s an amazing opportunity. It got us where we are faster and to a higher point quicker.” The Progressive Home Ownership programme sees families help to build, finish and paint a simple, decent home alongside volunteers and trades, before renting the home for five years. With conditions, they will then work towards home ownership within 10 years, using the rent paid less Habitat’s costs as part of their deposit. Being one of the few families to go ahead with settlement in less than five years, the Pendergrasts have set a great example of reaching their goal by being financially conscious. “It helped us to be responsible with our money, too” Doug said. “Having a target especially when you are looking to mortgage…you actually gonna be really structured.” Talking about the future, Doug and Laura said that this is the “first step” towards their big goal. They plan to renovate the house to build more equity and use it to buy more property. Their dream is to own a beautiful villa one day in the countryside with some orchards and animals.
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