Single Moms Buy Home in DC to Save Costs, Build Community

"Having the support network of close people that feel like family has been just priceless."

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It’s a full house at Herrin Hopper and Holly Harper's four-unit home in Takoma Park.

The pair of single moms bought their home together and moved in with their kids during the summer of 2020.

"We were both separated and quite frankly lonely, and we wanted to not be so isolated anymore," Herrin said.

Soon after, they rented the basement to another single mom, Leandra Nichola, and the top unit to their friend, Jen Jacobs, who was tired of overpaying for a small space by herself.

Now living at the home are four adults, five children and three dogs.

They’re called intentional communities — a group of people with common values who choose to live together or share resources. The Foundation for Intentional Community estimates there are more than 3,500 intentional communities in the United States.

"We’ve created a village and just like any village, we have ups and we have downs. Life happens, disagreements, joys — but overall having the support network of close people that feel like family has been just priceless," Harper said.

Holly and Herrin are now helping more single parents get started.

"There's two things, its the emotional readiness — can you find a person that you're willing to enter in a family relationship with, Harper said. "Then you need to just understand your financial readiness."

Holly and Herrin understand buying a home is unaffordable for many right now, even in groups.

The two own a second property in the area, and they’re now working with another single parent to build her own community.

They've gotten a lot of questions from people around the world.

Last week, they had 15 people come to their house for an information session. Holly's working on compiling all their resources so she can create a guide book of sorts to help others find their own sense community.

"Being a single mom, post divorce, separation or whatever life circumstances are, it can be very isolating," Hopper said. "To have created a different way of living, there’s just been a ton of interest."

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