Habitat solves the dilemma of how to finance a home through its homeownership model. In a nutshell, we identify eligible homeowners or partner families. We help build them a home and have them take part. We house families and reinvest their contributions into building more homes for those in need.
Habitat selects a partner family based on:
• Level of need
• Ability to repay a Habitat mortgage
• Willingness to partner with Habitat
Partner families are involved in the building of their home from start to finish, volunteering 500 hours of sweat equity towards its construction. Once their home is complete, families pay back its fair market value through monthly mortgage payments (set at 30% of their monthly income).
A Habitat home is a hand up not a hand out. No down payment is required, mortgages are interest-free and payments are geared to earned income. As a partner family pays off its mortgage, the funds are used by the local Habitat affiliate to build more homes for more low-income families in the community. That means that an investment in Habitat doesn’t help one, but many families improve their shelter conditions.
Family selection process
Each family is required to complete a pre-screening form. Eligible applicants are asked to complete a full application form which is then reviewed by our family selection committee, a staff-supported group of volunteers who represent all aspects of society. Family finances and credit ratings are carefully considered before the committee interviews the family. References provided are checked and communication is made with the landlord and employers.
Once selected, an agreement is signed and the family is required to volunteer 500 hours (or what Habitat calls sweat equity) before it can purchase the home.
We offer many ways to complete the sweat equity hours including helping in the ReStore, assisting in fundraising efforts, labouring on someone else’s home and, of course, working on their own home.
Families are required to attend workshops to help them learn about the responsibilities of homeownership. They cover topics such as setting goals, budgeting, use of credit, problem solving and how to be part of a strata. The workshops are designed to prepare the family for the financial, property and community responsibilities that come with owning a home.
Interested in becoming a partner family? Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver is not currently accepting any applications. Feel free to check again in the Fall of 2017!