Frequently Asked Questions and General Information
Please tell me more about what it means for me to show that I need a house.
An applicant�s need for housing can be many things: not having a house, living in someone else�s house, having a house that is in bad shape, having a house that is in a dangerous neighborhood, having a house but paying so much for rent that you have trouble meeting your other bills, having a house that is over-crowded, or any sort of similar situation.
Please tell me more about the kind of income I need to have in order to qualify for a Habitat home.
Typically, Habitat for Humanity�s general requirements are that a family�s total income should fall between 25-50% of the area�s median income. A family�s income does include money received through government assistance, including disability, SSI, food stamps, TANF, etc. However, HUD does not qualify as income for Habitat purposes, because that funding would not be continued if you were chosen to become a Partner Family homeowner. You must be willing to provide credit references and give us permission to verify your employment and other income, to verify checking and savings account balances, to get statements from your current and/or previous landlords, and to run a credit check.
I have really bad credit.
Most of the families who apply to become Habitat Partner Families have real problems with their credit histories. Many have bankruptcies or other bad debts and are trying to pull themselves up out of financial holes. Others may not have credit problems but work full-time jobs that pay barely enough for them to keep their heads above water. We understand this, and we do not pass judgment on our applicants. We know that the people we help will be people who would probably never qualify for a loan from a traditional bank. Giving people in these circumstances a hand up � not a hand out � is one of the reasons Habitat for Humanity was founded.
I really don�t want you to look at my credit history or talk to my references.
Unfortunately, this is an absolute requirement. If the Family Selection Committee does not have your permission to investigate your credit report and talk to your references, then you cannot be chosen to become a Partner Family. However, please rest assured that your information is kept strictly confidential, and your privacy is safe in our hands.
How can you sell homes to your Partner Families for so much less than they would bring on the open market?
A Habitat Partner family basically buys the house for the cost of materials and the professional labor. Because Habitat is a volunteer, non-profit organization, we do not have the kind of overhead costs that traditional builders have. This means that we can sell a home for a much lower price than someone who needs to make a profit to stay in business could ever afford to do. In addition, we do not charge interest on our loans, which means that the monthly payments are far more affordable than they could ever be with a traditional mortgage.
What is sweat equity?
Sweat equity is Habitat�s name for the time that the Partner Family must give to Habitat as volunteers in building the house. Most people earn sweat equity by actually participating at the construction site, helping with hammering, siding, roofing, sawing, carrying, raking, painting, and all sorts of jobs like that. Sweat equity can also be earned by helping with office work, helping with public speaking engagements, participating in homeownership classes, and in other non-physical ways that assist the Habitat affiliate.
I can�t help build a house � I�m disabled/elderly/have medical limitations. Does this disqualify me?
No. If you are chosen to partner with us, we will help you find ways to fulfill your sweat equity by doing things that you can handle (as described in some of the examples above).
How much sweat equity will I have to contribute?
Sweat equity requirements are based on the number of adults in the household. The minimum requirement for any Partner Family is 200 hours. No Partner Family will be required to contribute more than 500 hours. In addition, up to 1/4 of a family�s required sweat equity hours can be donated by family and friends.
How do you decide where a house will be built?
To some extent, we base our choices on where we have land. If this is the case, then that information will be included in the application announcement. For example, if we state that we are accepting applications for anyone who wants to apply for a Habitat home in Arma, and you aren�t interested in moving to Arma, then you shouldn�t apply for that house. Instead, you should wait to apply when we announce that we are going to be building in a part of the county where you would want to live. If we do not designate an area, then that means that we plan to choose a Partner Family and then build their home with them in the place that is best for them.
What if I haven�t lived in Crawford County for a year?
Unfortunately, you will not be eligible to apply until you have been a resident for at least one year. Habitat for Humanity of Crawford County operates only in Crawford County. You will be more than welcome to apply after that time has passed.
Does being a �Partner Family� mean that I have to have children? Do large families get chosen over small families or couples or single people?
No. We do not discriminate based on family size, race, color, religion, gender, marriage status, sexual orientation, ethnic background, age, disability, or whether or not a family receives public assistance. The application looks really complicated. If you have any questions, or would like any help in filling out the application, we would be delighted to help you! Just leave a message on the Habitat office phone (620-232-3588), and a member of the Family Selection Committee will make an appointment to give you any assistance you might want.
What if you don�t choose me?
Unfortunately, since our funds are limited, we can�t help everyone, no matter how much we want to. However, we do not discriminate against people who re-apply if they weren�t chosen the first time they applied. In fact, we have more than one Partner Family that was in that exact situation � but they kept applying until they were chosen, and now they�re thrilled to be buying their own homes!
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