Habitat for Humanity is a charitable organization committed to providing affordable, new homes for those in need along with rebuilding communities all across the country, and even around the world.
The first step in order to build a successful application that stands the best chances of being approved is to demonstrate that your current living conditions are inadequate and substandard such as:
- Over-crowdedness – Too many inhabitants in the home as per HUD occupancy standards.
- Unhygienic sanitary conditions – Improper plumbing installation along with building code violations.
- Unsafe or shoddy construction – leaks in the roof or windows, unstable flooring and foundation, etc.
- Exorbitant rent prices – The HUD estimates that no more than 30% of total income should be paid out for rent.
Always remain truthful in your claims. A home visit will need to be carried out by the Homeownership Services Committee in order to verify the validity of the claims and to gauge the severity of your housing needs.
The program aims to help the less fortunate at obtaining affordable housing. However the houses aren’t simply gifted to applicants either. You need to meet certain criteria based on income and job security as well such as:
- US citizen or permanent residence
- Minimum one year of steady employment
- No discharged bankruptcies for the last 48 months
- Must not owe non-medical debt totaling $1500
- Good Credit history for underwriting purposes.
There are also income limits to factor in which are typically based around 30-80% of the Area Median Income for the surrounding county. All figures accrued from employment, government assistance, child support, disability, etc, are totaled for the limit.
There could also be additional criteria based on local requirements within your area. Be sure to check with your local Habitat for Humanity branch for more details.
What will you pay?
The applicant is expected to cover a number of costs associated with potential homeownership such as paying for the closing fees of the home and making the monthly mortgages on the home as well.
Gift funds and donations from close friends or family can be used to help cover the necessary costs as long as there is an accompanying gift letter or evidence of transfer of funds to the applicant.
Earning Sweat Equity
Part of the program requires the applicant to be willing to work and contribute to the project by putting in hours of “sweat equity”. The work can either take form in one out of three ways:
- Manual labor on construction sites helping to build new homes for others.
- Volunteer work at the local Habitat Home Improvement Restore.
- An extra pair of hands at a particular Habitat event.
It’s important to enjoy the process and not lose sight of the big picture. The “sweat equity” program usually calls for around 300 hours for a one applicant household, and around 375 hours for a two applicant one.