The Habitat Model
Habitat is not a giveaway program. Our program is a hand up, not a hand out for qualified low-income applicants. Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds simple, decent houses alongside our homeowner partners.
In addition to a small down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor (“sweat equity”) into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. Upon completion, Habitat homes are sold at no profit and financed with no- or low-interest loans.
The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are usually between $600 and $700, depending on the size of the house, and go into a “Revolving Fund for Humanity” which is used to build more Habitat homes.
There are three basic requirements for eligibility.
1. Need for Housing. Current living situation must be inadequate in some way.
2. Stable Income of at least $1600 a month (for a 2 bedroom house).
3. Willingness to Partner. Habitat homeowners help to build their homes themselves, contributing 250 – 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ on the construction site and in Homeowner Education classes.
Anyone living in HUD/Section 8 Housing, substandard, overcrowded or unaffordable housing will be considered for a Habitat home. Temporary or transitional housing also qualify as substandard.
• Substandard takes into account code violations, safety, livability, stability of the structure and special needs of a family member that are not being met by their current housing.
• Overcrowded is defined as more than two people sharing a bedroom.
• Unaffordable is defined as spending more than 30% of the household income on housing.
Applicants must have verifiable income of at least $1600 a month and be able to demonstrate a history of paying rent and other bills on time.
Sources of income include but are not limited to: employment or temporary unemployment benefits, alimony, child support, food stamps, social security or disability.
Applicants must have a credit score of 640 or more, and credit history will be reviewed for consistent payments.
Our income requirements are carefully set in order to ensure that our homeowners can comfortably afford a Habitat home. There is some flexibility depending on your debt-to-income ratio.
Willingness to Partner
"Willingness to partner" encompasses the homeowner’s acceptance and support of the Habitat mission:
• Completing the application in a timely manner. Assistance is provided to any applicant that needs it.
• Completing sweat equity hours in a timely manner- 250 hours for single adult households, 500 hours for two-adult households.
• Taking part in Homeowner Education classes about financial management and home maintenance.
• Meeting with an assigned Habitat representative monthly to track progress in the program.