Owning a Habitat for Humanity home is about a having a safe, decent, affordable home to live in today and building a financial asset that will benefit your family in the future. It is a partnership between the community, Habitat, and families that can use a hand up. Everyone must do their part to make it work.
“Many people believe we give away homes,” says Mark Rodgers, Habitat Canada’s President and CEO. “We do not. This is not a lottery. We have a program that is geared to help families that many not be able to get a conventional mortgage.”
How Habitat’s affordable homeownership works
- We screen families very carefully to make sure they can afford to pay for and run a Habitat for Humanity home
- We support families by assigning them a Family Partner that will walk through the preparation for homeownership with them
- We prepare families by providing training on the Habitat housing program, home maintenance, budgeting, and protecting their assets
Eligibility criteria can vary between local Habitats, and may be dependent upon the type of home being built. But there are three main criteria that all applicants must meet in order to qualify for Habitat’s affordable homeownership program:
- In need of better housing: applicants might be dealing with poorly maintained, unhealthy or overcrowded housing; unaffordable rent; inaccessible housing for people living with disabilities.
- Able to make affordable mortgage payments.
- Willing to partner with Habitat: Habitat homeowners put in up to 500 hours volunteering with Habitat either on the build site, at their local Habitat ReStore or while taking training in personal finance, home maintenance or other homeownership topics.
Homeownership is out of reach for many families because saving for a down payment is often too difficult, and interest charges make a mortgage payment more than many can afford.
Habitat homeownership provides families with more than just equity – it instills them with a renewed sense of pride and responsibility. And while the impact is immediate, the effects are lasting.
Research from Habitat Canada has shown that Habitat homeowners are happier, healthier and more financially stable, and their children are more confident and do better in school compared to before moving into their Habitat home.
But the benefits of a Habitat home reach far beyond the walls these families help build. In the community it frees up rental capacity demands for affordable housing as renters become homeowners who contribute to the tax base, and no public funds required to maintain the homes as families do it themselves. Our build sites also offer an opportunity for community members, from all walks of life, to come together and work side by side in a meaningful way
According to a Boston Consulting Group report on the social impact of Habitat’s work, there are $175,000 of benefits given back to the community for every Habitat home built. That comes from families being able to build enough financial stability through affordable mortgage payments to be able to buy more groceries and not having to rely on food banks and other social services. For some families, it means being able to afford having their kids play sports and participate in extra-curricular activities, or having enough money available for the parents to go back to school to further their education and their career prospects.
But what does this all mean for the families we serve?
“Just the fact that you know you’re building something for your kids, for your future, for their future. It’s just a wonderful feeling. It’s just amazing!” – Carlos and Claudia, Homeowners, 2018
“Like many other parents, you want to have a safe place for your family. I wanted a better life for them. The day the call came in, everything changed. I knew something amazing was going to happen.” – George and Viola, Homeowners, 2017
“Home is where the heart is! It’s your comfort spot, your escape from the world, and where the most beautiful memories are made. It’s where you can relax and not worry about the stresses of the outside world. I’m looking forward to creating a warm and welcoming place for my children to grow up in, a place to love.” – Lindsie, Future Homeowner
“Owning my own home means stability, being able to keep my son with me longer, and knowing I can safely transport my son without struggling and hurting myself.” – Brianne, Future Homeowner, 2019
In the end, families build strength, stability and self-reliance in the community. Want to know more? View the video below to hear first-hand how they feel about being Habitat Homeowners.
Ready to start your journey? You too can become a homeowner! The application process is just that: a process. There are many steps involved. Because each family is uniquely wonderful, each application and situation is different.
Before you fill out an application form, please complete the eligibility Quiz located on our website https://habitat4home.ca/own-a-home/how-to-apply/. The questions will help to determine whether or not your family currently qualifies for our home ownership program.
Together we can work through this process and together we can make your dreams come true!