Abstract: Impacts of Homeownership on Perceptions of Health, Economic Security, & Safety: A Survey of Habitat for Humanity Homeowners in Central Texas (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

279P Impacts of Homeownership on Perceptions of Health, Economic Security, & Safety: A Survey of Habitat for Humanity Homeowners in Central Texas

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Anna Wasim, LMSW, Senior Research Coordinator, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Monica Faulkner, PhD, Research Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Austin, TX
Jim Rowell, MSSW Candidate, Student Researcher, TXICFW, Austin, TX
Background and Purpose:

Pathways to homeownership are limited for many mid-to-low income residents and almost inaccessible for families experiencing poverty. Research suggests that homeownership can reduce negative health, economic, and safety outcomes, and contribute to building intergenerational wealth if maintained. The Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County (HFHWC) has a homeownership program that offers low down payment and interest rates for applicants who meet the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This project surveyed participants (n=34) in 2019 after homeownership through HFHWC in order to understand how homeownership impacted perceptions of health, economic stability, and safety and security outcomes.


Participants were recruited from a list of families who received a home loan through the HFHWC program. Of the 67 participants, 34 completed a pre- and post-survey either online or via phone after moving into their home. The survey included the following self-reported measures: health and wellbeing, economic security (adapted from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s financial literacy questionnaire), neighborhood safety and household security (adapted from the Midlife in the United States study), home characteristics, and household composition, and one open-ended question. Participants were asked to report on their lives before and after moving into their home. Descriptive statistics and a two-tailed t-test tests for significance were conducted. Qualitative data was de-identified and analyzed using thematic content analysis.


The average Habitat home among participants was a four bedroom, two bath home. Prior to homeownership, almost half of participants (48.4%) rented a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom home or apartment. The majority of homeowners lived with children in their home (84.4%) and half (50%) lived with a spouse or partner. A statistically significant (p<.05) positive change from before and after homeownership was observed in all variables of economic security, neighborhood safety and household security. Health and wellbeing observed statistically significant positive change as well except two items of having enough energy to take care of the household and having an ability to make home improvements as needed, although positive changes were seen in both items. Qualitative data reflected positive changes as a result of homeownership through HFHWC (e.g. “I have struggled financially in the past, but the mortgage is something I can afford, so it makes me feel confident that with my job I can at least pay the bills”) with a few participants indicating that home repairs and lack of input to the homebuilding presented challenges to their homeownership.

Conclusions and Implications:

Findings suggest homeownership can positively impact the lives of those experiencing poverty in domains pertaining to health and wellbeing, economic security, and neighborhood safety. Additional research is needed to better understand the mechanism of how homeownership impacts other people living in the home, as well as a longitudinal study of the potential intergenerational improvements to the outcomes examined in this study.