Habitat for Humanity Canada’s unique model of affordable homeownership has helped more than 3,300 families build strength, stability and independence. The model is one based on the idea of partnerships, of both personal and community commitment to building affordable homes.
“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.”
Habitat homeowners purchase their home at fair-market value and pay a no down payment, interest-free affordable mortgage after successfully applying.
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.
- Willingness 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.
According to a Boston Consulting Group report on the social impact of Habitat’s work, there is $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 have 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 the parents can afford to go back to school to further their education and their career prospects.
The goal for Habitat for Humanity in Canada is to build more homes and serve more families. Many local Habitats across the country are building not just a home, but large communities of 50, 60, and 70-unit developments.
“I want to see a day come when we’re talking about complexes and developments of 200 and 300 homes,” says Mark. “We have to be focused on the future and recognize that the need for affordable housing in this country will continue to grow.”
Learn more about how to get involved with Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario by visiting habitat4home.ca/get-involved/