Applying for a Habitat Home
Homeownership is a big part of the American dream. At Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity, we are proud to partner with individuals and families who are living in substandard housing conditions who want a safe and comfortable place to call home.
Each year we review approximately fifty applications from individuals and/or families who want to participate in our program. These people are hard-working people who want to own their own home, but who are not able to qualify for a traditional mortgage for any number of reasons. Often they have poor credit or no credit history at all.
At Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity, we build homes with volunteer labor so we can sell the homes at no profit to qualified families to move out of substandard housing.
We believe in providing families “a hand up, not a hand out.” Our homeowners pay monthly no-interest mortgage payment based on the size of their home. Habitat for Humanity homeowner mortgage payments are put into a revolving fund that helps pay for construction of future homes in Cass and Clay counties.
How families are chosen:
The selection of families who will purchase homes from Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity is done by the our Family Selection committee in a way that does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or national origin or because all or part of the applicant’s income is derived from public assistance programs. The applicant families go through the required application and interview process to determine their needs and the ability to meet LAHFH’s requirements.
We use the following criteria to choose families each year:
Residency: Families must have lived or worked within the Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity service area for the past year.
Housing Need: They must currently live in sub-standard housing with structural defects, health hazards, other unsafe conditions, or housing that is simply too small for the family.
Affordability Need: Each family has a household income that falls within Habitat’s guidelines and shows an ability to repay the interest-free loan.
Sweat Equity: Every Partner Family adult (age 18 and up) is required to perform a minimum of 250 hours of volunteer work known as “sweat equity” within the Habitat organization before moving into their home. Sweat equity is an exciting learning experience in which Partner Families work with family, neighbors, and friends to build other Partner Families’ homes as well as their own. Working alongside volunteers and future neighbors to build their home and community is one of the most rewarding aspects of Habitat for Humanity for Partner Families. Besides working on the construction site, there are many other ways to complete sweat equity hours such as working at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, helping in the LAHFH office, and attending classes on home maintenance and financial fitness.
Partnership: They are willing to partner with Habitat by sharing their stories and participating at events for the home. We expect our partner families will represent Habitat in a positive manner.
Habitat for Humanity does not give handouts, but instead provides simple, decent and affordable homes to families in need. Click here to read other frequently asked questions about Habitat.
How to apply
If you’re interested in applying for a Habitat home and meet all the criteria listed above, you must first attend one of our orientation classes. View class schedule and register for a class by going to http://lahfh.eventbrite.com. You only need to attend one session.
Partner Family Story
Paul and Takeema Shields were inspired to apply for a Habitat home for one reason only, their children. Before Habitat, they were living in a cramped, three bedroom apartment, with their 4 young children and one on the way. For Paul and Takeema, their priority has always been to make sure they can provide for their children and they dreamt of owning a home of their own.
While the Shields family understands that with homeownership comes a greater responsibility, they never take their opportunity for granted. “It’s hard to explain what homeownership means to me,” said Paul Shields, “It’s something that people work for their entire lives but sometimes never get to experience. Without Habitat, we may not have made it. We were able to achieve the American Dream. I’ll be grateful to Habitat my entire life.”