The Habitat Story: Mental Health & Home Ownership

Owning a home for the first time can be nerve racking, and even stressful.

Habitat For Humanity Evansville knows those are feelings their future homeowners are going through.

Swinging a hammer and turning a wrench aren't the only things you need to know how to do when it comes to owning a home. You also need to learn a lot about your money and yourself.

"It's so stressful because you don't know what you don't know," commented Licensed Mental Health Counselor Jeff Stuckey while visiting Habitat For Humanity Evansville.

A group of students spent last week studying for the ultimate test, the privilege of providing a home for their families.

It's thanks to a new aspect of a new facility at Habitat For Humanity Evansville.

"This learning center is essentially a classroom for future homeowners and soon to be current Habitat homeowners. It's a place for them to take classes on home maintenance, home repair, and money management," said Habitat For Humanity Communications Director Mariah Bradley.

"Level 3 tribe, is the tribe that believes I'm great, and you're not," said Stuckey while writing on a board in the front of a classroom.

The homeowners spent the day learning from Stuckey.

His focus isn't on things like the required classes of budgeting.

"This part of the brain is called the amygdala, and it houses the flight or fight response.”

Instead he's focused on the stress of adapting to a new home, and new responsibility.

"Most of us are way too stressed out,” said Stuckey to a group of nodding heads.

"There's a combination of stress. You're ready for your house to be built, and then there's a combination of relief that it will be built," said future homeowner David Brown.

A feeling Stuckey knows all too well, and something he makes sure the homeowners know, is a continuous process.

"I really emphasize the importance of a support system and accessing a support system. Not feeling like they should have all of the answers."

The class is not only a great resource, but each session goes toward hours homeowners have to accrue to receive their keys to the front door.

"Optional are things like nutrition or stress classes. Things that aren't required but allow you to get some hours in,” shared Brown.

The classes are just another way Habitat For Humanity Evansville is not only building new homes, but also is building a better community.

The new Habitat Learning Center also includes cabinets, a HVAC unit, a drywall repair station, and a plenty of others areas meant to learn home maintenance. Possibly something we all could've used for our first home.

(This story was originally published on May 25, 2017)


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