Carrie Angrum’s Path to Homeownership

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Carrie Angrum has lived in New Orleans for 35 years. She has three daughters, one of whom, Tranetta, is already a Habitat homeowner, and five grandchildren. As she says, she wants everyone to know that she is 55 years old and about to own her own home, something she never expected to happen. She is in the middle of her sweat equity work, working alongside fellow Walmart employee and NOAHH partner family member Julie Hicks, volunteers, and NOAHH staff.

Ms. Angrum lived in the Iberville housing development for 12 years. She paid $254 a month in rent, while a Section 8 voucher obtained through the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) run by the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), covered the rest. The amount was set when she first entered the program in 2001. She has worked for the same company–Walmart–the entire time. When the city decided to demolish the Iberville housing development in favor of mixed-income housing, Ms. Angrum had to move. She began looking for a new place, and soon, as she was driving around the St. Roch neighborhood, she says she saw her “dream home.” It happened that the home was a NOAHH home that had been made available for rent, including for Section 8 housing.

Because the Section 8 voucher program is based on income and requires some vetting, generally, those in the program do not find out the the amount they will pay in rent until the end of the signing process. Ms. Angrum, having spent 12 years with the same rent, expected to pay about the same for her new home, but when it came time to sign, it was revealed that the voucher would only cover $113 of the rent, while she would be responsible for $712 a month, based on 30% of her income. Fortunately, NOAHH employees and Ms. Angrum realized two important facts: (1) a Habitat home’s monthly no-interest mortgage payment, insurance payments, and termite contract was about $150 to $200 less expensive than the rent Ms. Angrum was being asked to pay and (2) Ms. Angrum most likely qualified for our program.

The HCVP, like NOAHH, has a set of income guidelines for prospective renters. NOAHH homeowners must make between 40% and 60% of the New Orleans area median income, which falls between $19,200 a month and $40,980 a month, depending on family size.

The chart below shows the relative incomes and payments for similar family sizes in both programs:

Family size Minimum income with HCVP Monthly payment at that income Income range with NOAHH Monthly payment at that income
1 $20,600 $515 $19,200 to $25,380 $550 to $650
2 $23,550 $588.75 $19,200 to $24,720 $550 to $650
3 $26,500 $662.50 $19,200 to $28,260 $550 to $650
4 $29,400 $735 $19,200 to $31,800 $550 to $650
5 $31,800 $795 $19,200 to $35,280 $550 to $650
6 $34,150 $853.75 $19,200 to $40,980 $550 to $650

The voucher covers the difference in rent after the monthly payment by the renter, which, of course, likely increases as well with family size, as larger families would need larger domiciles. The payment for HCVP always increases with income level. Those eligible (based on income) for either NOAHH’s program or HANO’s would be paying between $515 and $853.75 a month for a HCVP rental. Compare Ms. Angrum’s situation with HCVP and with NOAHH:

Program Monthly payment Minimum income Term Payment Other factors
HCVP, 2001 $254 – 30% of income at the time ~$10,000 Forever Rent Payment subject to change with income increases; rental subject to changes by landlord
HCVP, 2013 $712 – 30% of income at the time $20,600 Forever Rent Payment subject to change with income increases; rental subject to changes by landlord
NOAHH, 2013 $550 to $650 $19,200 30 years for the mortgage portion Mortgage principal (no interest), flood and home insurance, and termite contract Subject to change only with variations in insurance rates; payer is owner of the home

The value of the NOAHH homeownership program is indisputable. Though some families may find HCVP a better fit for a variety of reasons, as Ms. Angrum found, there are circumstances where the value of the NOAHH program easily exceeds that of HCVP for a lower monthly payment!

In what might have been record time, Ms. Angrum completed her application process and got approved, and now she is renting her dream home from NOAHH outside of the HANO program and working her way toward owning it! “