Does Habitat for Humanity Give Away Houses?
No! Habitat for Humanity is an affordable home-ownership program. As such, our homeowners purchase their homes from Habitat through a no-interest mortgage loan that is repaid through an affordable payment based on 28% of a household’s gross monthly income. Homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments then go into a revolving fund to help build more Habitat homes in the community.
Do I Have to Be a Christian to Become a Habitat Homeowner?
Habitat for Humanity was founded as, and still is, a Christian ministry. As such, it is our mission to witness to the Word of God and the love of Jesus Christ for all persons through our words and actions. However, homeowners are selected without regard to creed, both in keeping with the requirements of the equal housing laws and Habitat’s belief that God’s love extends to all regardless of race, religion or nationality.
How Long Does It Take to Get a House?
Once a Partner Family is selected, Habitat must sometimes design and then build the house to perfectly fit a family’s needs. We also need to raise all of the money to build the home. The time between approval to move-in can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on the availability of land on which to build, sponsorships, and donations coming in to Habitat to fund the building of the home. During this time, the Partner Family begins completing their sweat-equity (volunteer) hours. These hours include helping to build the homes of other Habitat Partner Families, participating in homeowner education classes including the financial management course, “Financial Peace University” and eventually beginning the work to build their own home. All required Habitat activities count toward sweat-equity hours. A percentage of the sweat-equity hours can also be performed by friends and family of the Partner Family.
What If I Have a Lot of Debt?
Our goal is to assist those with a housing need to become financially stable and to prepare them to be successful homeowners. The applicants we work with often have debt and credit issues.
When an application is submitted, we look at current debt and credit history. One issue that could impact someone being selected is what we call “bad” debt. This may include such things as accounts in collections, accounts charged off as bad debt, etc. We will also consider any legal judgments that are active. We may select applicants who have slightly higher debt if they have the ability to repay those debts before we begin building their Habitat home. This is left to the discretion of our Homeowner Selection Committee and the Affiliate.
Even if an applicant has good credit and has paid their bills on time, we also consider debt-to-income ratio. The rule of thumb is that total “current” debt, including a Habitat mortgage payment, must not require monthly payments of more than 40% of a household’s gross monthly income.
Can I Qualify If My Abilities are Limited?
Yes. It’s important to know that Habitat builds homes to meet the needs of its selected Partner Families. We can build handicap accessible homes with features to accommodate a homeowner with special needs or health considerations.
Sometimes the question comes, “With my limited abilities, how can I work my sweat-equity hours?” We will work out special arrangements by which Habitat’s sweat-equity requirements can be satisfied. In addition to working on the construction site, we have opportunities to work at our Fort Collins Habitat ReStore, helping with Habitat-related events, making phone calls, etc. In other words, we will work with Partner Families to ensure they accomplish their sweat-equity hours.
Do I Have to Help in the Construction of the Home?
Yes, unless you have limitations which prevent you from working at the construction site (see above question and answer), this is a key part of the Habitat program. Partner Families work alongside Habitat staff and volunteers in the construction of their own homes and also work on the homes of other Habitat Partner Families. One of the highlights of working at a Habitat work site is for the volunteers to meet the Partner Families. That’s why it is so important for the Habitat families to be present at the construction site.
Do I Have to Know Anything About Construction?
No. We will teach you what you need to know and provide expert supervision.
Do I Get to Select My Home Design?
Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity selects the lot and floor plan, while Partner Families assist in the choice of flooring, counter tops and fixtures. Interior walls are painted white and can be repainted by the homeowner family after they move in. The exterior paint color is often determined by the Home Owner Association guidelines of the communities in which we build our homes.