How Next Step is Helping Families Achieve Homeownership

Lee and Lucille Allen in the kitchen of their manufactured home.

Housing can be one of the largest household expenses for most Americans, but thankfully there are organizations out there that are willing to help individuals find a home that is right for them.

*This is a post written by Rebecca McCue and sponsored by Clayton through its support of Next Step.

Next Step’s mission as a nonprofit is to put sustainable homeownership within reach of everyone, while transforming perceptions of the manufactured housing industry through consumer education, affordability and energy-efficiency. Nearly 6.7 million U.S. households today are manufactured homes, also known as off-site built housing, with nearly half of those having residents age of 55 or older.

Nearly 15 years ago, Lee and Lucille Allen were the first family to purchase a home through Next Step. With the help of Frontier Housing, another nonprofit based in Morehead, KY, that hosts a range of services to provide affordable housing solutions, the Allens were able to better their living situation by purchasing their own 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Clayton Built® home in Rowan County, KY.

Lee is originally from Breathitt County, but eventually settled in Wolfe County with his wife, Lucille. They are both talented bluegrass and traditional musicians. Lee served 15 years as a police officer in Breathitt County. Together they have 5 children — all musicians.

Prior to moving into their current home, the Allens were renting a home from a family member but due to unforeseen circumstances, they were forced to leave quickly. Lee and Lucille have both reported better health since after leaving their previous living conditions with mold and electrical issues. In addition to bettering their physical health, they have both stated that their mental and financial states are better because they have room to breathe.

“(Frontier Housing) just about saved our lives,” said Lucille. They said it was a wave of relief to get out of the conditions they were previously in.

Next Step Lucille Allen

After living in their current home for over a decade, the Allens are extremely impressed with the quality of the house. Since they have both been subject to poor housing conditions and terrible weather in the past, they are happy with how their home has withstood several storms in the years they have lived there. “We’ve been out here for 10 years and not once have we felt this house shake,” said Lucille.

Before purchasing their new home, they were required to take homebuyer education classes. This helped them fully understand the process they were going through, as well as thinks like insurance, taxes and escrow.

Lee and Lucille are still thrilled with the quality of their home and would recommend a home like their own to everyone.

“I have never been as happy as I am now,” said Lee.

The Allens are extremely thankful for all the help they received in purchasing their home almost 15 years ago and said they have no plans of moving out anytime soon.

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