The Story Behind the Beahive
Many people dream of owning a home, but there are all types of barriers that prevent them from doing so! The mission of Beahive Affordable Housing Outreach Inc. is to provide people with a path to homeownership that most people don't talk about. This is done while also tackling obstacles such as affordability and accessibility.
How it all began…
After our founder, Samara Scott, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from Pennsylvania State University, she earned a master’s in human resources management at Saint Francis University. Her main and most favored role was being the queen of her own hive of 3 children with her husband.
In March 2013, the house attached to her on Schuylkill Street was set on fire at 3:00 am. Her family was later told by police that there was a Molotov cocktail thrown through the window of the attached duplex which due to poor construction between the homes, quickly got to hers.
Relieved that her family and cat got out safely! Reality struck when she realized she did not have renters’ insurance. Therefore, she and her family lost everything. Thanks to help from the American Red Cross, as well as many other family and friends they were able to stay in a hotel while finding a new home.
After living in the hotel for 2 months they finally moved into a more comfortable space. Their new home was smaller than their previous one, but her 5-person family made it work in their new 3-bedroom townhome.
Her family lived there for 2 years, then relocated to a townhouse where the children could have their own rooms. One day, while riding down a street she rarely rode down, she came across a rent-to-own sign and took a screenshot of the number.
Samara had already attempted to be pre-approved for a home for years, but she had tax liens and poor credit, though at the time she was close to a 6-figure income. She knew homeownership and the equity that came with it was the key to building wealth. But Samara was hesitant! She didn't know of anyone that had ever tried this method of owning a home. Not to mention, she thought what if I do not make it through and lose all of the money that I invested?
Samara eventually decided to get details about the process and was told it would be $15,000 as a down payment. She weighed the pros and cons of the deal, then decided this may be the only way!
She succeeded! She improved her credit and learned through her research that you can purchase a primary house even with a tax lien. She was able to get a mortgage in her name!
As Samara examined the whole process, she realized there was one major area that needed improvement. The $15,000 turned out not to be a down payment as she thought. It was a broker's fee. She ended up having to pay that amount again to close.
Even though rent-to-own opportunities may be a feasible option for families who may not believe it is possible, it is not for everyone. To protect both parties, a lawyer should be involved.
Samara's goal is to educate peopple about rent-to-own, while also making sure they are protected from those just looking for a profit. The road she has taken—from renter to homeowner and equity owner—is one that she hopes to turn into a roadmap that helps underserved families achieve ownership as well.
In early 2022, Samara and her mother, Bea discussed that their community—Uptown Harrisburg PA—was degrading!
They hoped that, by teaching more people to think in terms of ownership, they would increase the number of homeowners and improve conditions in their community. Everyone could do his or her part to redevelop it. A hive mentality.
Beahive Housing Outreach Inc. was born out of this vision!
To pay homage to her mother Bea, Samara incorporated her mother's name into the name of the organization. Her mother is the "Queen Bea" of the family. She is the glue that holds the family together. Since Bea was directly influenced by her mother, Samara's grandmother, known as "Honey", she decided to pay homage to her by adding drips of honey to the logo. Another “Queen Bee” in her eyes.
These subtle nuances represent Community, Collaboration, and Unity.
We know this is what it will take to empower historically underserved populations (like Uptown Harrisburg) to grow from renting to owning and foster pride as homeowners.
Rent to own is just one program that is critical to Beahive. Rental Assistance and Home Savings are equally as critical. As these programs serve the community, we rely on the companies they work with to provide support. You can do this in many ways by donating and/or volunteering your time with Beahive Affordable Housing Outreach, Inc.