Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity, an ecumenical Christian housing ministry is an affiliate of Habitat International. Habitat builds houses in partnership with families in need, giving them hope to rise above discouraging, ever-increasing housing costs by partnering with them as they build and buy their own home. The strength and foundation of a home can be the hope that transforms the life of a family.
Our mission is to build safe, decent, and affordable homes in partnership with hard-working families in need. This grassroots effort is made possible through the generous donations of materials, money, and labor from members of the Fort Collins community.
Habitat provides a 0% interest loan where Habitat homeowners make a monthly mortgage payment that does not exceed 30% of their income. Habitat homeowners also save a down payment and contribute up to 500 hours of “sweat equity” in the building of their home and at the ReStore.
In a grassroots effort, Habitat brings people together from all walks of life and builds community while building hope and homes. Volunteering with Fort Collins Habitat is much more than swinging a hammer. There are jobs for every age and skill level. A heart to help is all that is required.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries around the world.
About Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity
Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in the Fort Collins area and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. All are welcome.
Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity has an open-door policy: All who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people. In short, Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and also serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.
No, Habitat is a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization. However, Habitat works closely with local government and the U.S. Government to make affordable home ownership happen in our local community.
Does Habitat Receive Money From the Government?
Yes, Habitat does receive some government funding to purchase land, pay for infrastructure and/or for down-payment assistance for Habitat families through a competitive process. Local communities receive funding from HUD through the Community Development Block Grant program or through the HOME Program. The money is awarded to Fort Collins directly and the City awards the money to different affordable housing agencies through a competitive process. A group of local citizens sit on a board that awards these monies to the different affordable housing agencies and programs.
How Are Habitat Homes Designed?
Local architects design Habitat homes to accommodate the selected family’s needs in compliance with the Basic House Description approved by the Board of Directors. Habitat homes blend in seamlessly with their communities and meet all Home Owners’ Association (HOA) requirements.
Since Habitat Homes Are Considered Affordable, Are They Quality Built?
We are proud that not only are our homes attractive and fit into the style of the community, but all our homes are built to an E-Star Standard. This means that our homes have 2×6 construction, are well insulated and have energy efficient furnaces, water heaters and appliances. In short, they are built to an energy efficiency standard. The City of Fort Collins recently adopted the E-Star standard for all homes built within the city. Habitat built to E-Star standards before it was required and recently has gone an additional step to build LEED-Certified homes. LEED homes are built to an even higher standard and are “certified” LEED by independent consultants. LEED-certified homes insure the highest standard in green-built and energy efficient construction.
In fact, because we are building homes to LEED-certified standards, we invite construction management students, local builders, architects and building professionals to come and build with us to become LEED-certified for their licensure. See HabitatPRO to learn more about this program.
What Does a Habitat Home Cost in Fort Collins?
The cost of a Habitat home in Fort Collins varies greatly depending on the neighborhood in which we build and the cost of the lot on which we build our homes.
In 2011, it cost about $175,000 to build a 3-bedroom, 1,250 sq. ft. home. And this with volunteer labor! This includes the cost of materials and professional, licensed services, which we refer to as “bricks and sticks,” that is about $100,000. Lots purchased in recent years have cost around $55,000, city and impact fees are around $25,000. Recently-completed Habitat homes have appraised for over $200,000 here, yet in some rural communities and in other states, the cost to build a Habitat home is much lower.
Can Habitat Homeowners Afford a Mortgage Payment on a Home in Fort Collins?
Yes, but only if they work through Habitat for Humanity. Prospective home owners earning less than 50% of the area median income traditionally cannot qualify for a mortgage through traditional lenders.
But, because Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit whose mission is to build homes that are affordable to these lower-income families, it subsidizes the cost of the home in these ways.
Habitat sells the home at cost with no profit. In addition, Habitat is the mortgage lender providing loans to Habitat families at zero percent. A typical Habitat mortgage runs for 30 years. And the payments do not exceed 30% of the family’s gross income. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suggests this 30% standard because it is one that most lower-income families can manage.
Being Both the Builder AND the Lender, Does That Cause Challenges for Habitat?
Of course! In a typical building scenario, a builder takes out a construction loan, builds the house, and receives his money at the closing table when the home buyer receives a mortgage loan from a bank or credit union. It doesn’t work that way for Habitat.
Since Habitat is also the lender, it must raise the money to build the home on the front end before the house is built. It cannot take out a construction loan. The house must be totally paid for at closing, because now Habitat becomes the lender or banker and carries the loan for the next 30 years. Another way to say this is that Habitat does not get paid right away, but slowly over a 30 year period. The money that Habitat receives every month helps cover the costs of current and future projects.
What Are the Specific Requirements to Qualify As a Habitat Family?
Please refer to the How to Become a Homeowner section.