Caitlyn is our Homeowner Services Coordinator, meaning she works with every potential applicant, homebuyer, and homeowner throughout their entire homeownership journey, even after they have paid off their mortgage. She joined the RAHFH team in the summer of 2014, after two service years with other housing organizations (one year through GrinnellCorps with Jericho Road Housing Initiative in New Orleans, and another through AmeriCorps with Zion Development in Rockford). Caitlyn said she was excited to work with RAHFH, especially because it meant continuing the work of affordable housing in Rockford, her hometown.
“I have worn some different hats with the organization, and I love where I’ve landed, working directly with our clients,” Caitlyn said. “Home is such a personal and significant thing, and I take it as a real privilege and responsibility to work with people in connection with their home, whether that’s a home they are getting ready to buy or a home they have owned for many years.”
Caitlyn is incredibly dedicated to her work and RAHFH’s mission. We hope you enjoy getting to know her through this Q&A!
Q: What is one fun or surprising fact about you?
A: If people only know me in the context of Habitat, I think they are often surprised to learn that I have an identical twin, Meghan. I do try to remember to share this with people, though, or I have found that it can lead to confusion if they bump into her and think that it’s me!
Q: When you’re not serving with Habitat, what are you up to? What do you do for fun?
A: In my life outside of Habitat, I teach Modern at Rockford Dance Company and I am a company member of Without Shoes Modern Dance Company. I also enjoy creating independent dance work with my sister, and for the last couple of summers we have co-directed a large site-specific dance project at Severson Dells, which is always a very fun undertaking, and we’re looking forward to getting started on that again this spring. I am also an avid hiker, and at least once a year I like to get off the grid and into wilderness for a week or so!
Q: What makes you passionate about your work?
A: I think it’s easy to stay passionate about work that is so tangible. You don’t have to guess at whether or not things are progressing and having an impact; you get to see it in walls going up and roofs going on and moving trucks hauling boxes. The work is very palpable and emotional in this way, and that serves as a constant reminder of why I do and love what I do.
Q: What is one of your favorite moments or memories of working with Habitat?
A: It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment, but it has been really amazing to be able to witness the impact good housing really has in peoples’ lives. We naturally maintain contact with families after they move into their homes, because we become their lender at that point, and as time passes, it’s so wonderful to see the way the house starts to change things. It can mean going back to school for that higher degree you always wanted, or seeing your kids start to breathe better in the absence of mold, or even selling the house and using the equity for a down payment on the open market. We always say that buying a house is life changing, and it’s a true gift when we get to see that come to fruition for people we know and love.
Q: What do you love about Habitat?
A: I love that Habitat not only provides an opportunity for people to move into safe, stable housing— which in and of itself is extremely important— but that it provides this opportunity specifically through homeownership. Habitat was founded on the principal of creating more equitable access to owning a home for those who had been shut out of the conventional mortgage market. I think people don’t always realize how important homeownership is, but it has long been the primary means for households to build generational wealth in this country, and I love that Habitat works to make this important opportunity more accessible, more affordable, and more equitable.
Caitlyn’s work is so integral to the heart of our mission, and we are unbelievably grateful for her dedication to each Habitat homebuyer and homeowner. Thank you, Caitlyn, for furthering the work of affordable housing every day!