Homeowners frequently point past their immediate improved living conditions to the changes that Habitat so frequently means for their children and their families. Building a house with Habitat has changed what their today looks like...but the experience also has planted a seed of hope and strength within those families."
Shala Carlson and WonHiew Peng - Habitat World
The qualitative difference that often comes with homeownership is described in the quote to the right, and is a primary benefit that comes with owning a Habitat home. For a family with children, there are often noticeable improvements in performance at school. Habitat caps the total paid for the mortgage, property insurance and property taxes at 30% of the homeowner's income. Almost always, homeowners pay less for their mortgage, property insurance, and property taxes than they do for rent. With each payment, the homeowner builds equity, and a more stable financial foundation.
Criteria and Application Process
Four fundamental criteria used by Habitat for Humanity for selection:
- Need for Shelter: The applicant's current shelter is inadequate because it is either structurally unsound, overcrowded, has unsanitary or unhealthy conditions, or the resident is paying more than 50% of household income for housing.
- Willingness to Partner: The applicant agrees to and completes sweat equity hours and participates in the partnering program which may include financial counseling and household management education. Acceptance of the sweat equity requirement is one indicator of an applicant’s willingness to partner with Habitat. Rather than requiring an exact number of hours, Habitat expects the partner meet the spirit and intent of the requirement. BAHfH homeowner partners, designated friends, and extended family members have often completed more than 500 sweat equity hours.
- Residency: The applicant must have lived or worked for at least the last twelve months in Bennington County.
Applicants should include their current mailing address and phone number and specify the best time to call.
The Selection Process
Timeline of events:
- Application is received and reviewed
- Strong candidates will be asked to provide material to verify income information stated on their application (copies of income tax return, pay stubs, etc.)
- Two Habitat representatives will arrange an interview at the applicant's current residence.
- A credit check will be completed. References will be contacted. A criminal record and sex offender check will be completed, as required by Habitat International.
- After very careful consideration of all qualified candidates, the Selection Committee and the Board of Directors will make a final decision and contact the selected families.
Homeowner partners, Randy, Michelle, Aiden, and Gracie Lewis were recently interviewed by GNAT for a Public Service Announcement to encourage people in need of affordable housing to contact Habitat at 802-367-1000 for more information.