Qualifying for a Habitat Home
To be considered, all Essex County Habitat for Humanity applicants must attend one of the above informational meetings, meet the following criteria, and complete an application.
- Be legal residents or citizens in status
- Have two years of taxable income reported
- Be first-time homeowners
Three Main Selection Criteria
Critera 1: Need
Applicants must demonstrate a need for housing. Consideration is given to the following circumstances and conditions
- Substandard Housing – if there are problems with the heating system, water supply, electricity, bathrooms, kitchen, structure, etc. of your current home.
- Applicant pays more than 40% of income on rent.
- Overcrowding-If the number of bedrooms is inadequate as determined by the number, ages, and sex of household members.
- Economic Disadvantage – The family must be unable to obtain a conventional or government-assisted mortgage loan to purchase a home.
Criteria 2: Income and Ability to Pay
The family income must be adequate to cover monthly housing costs of approximately $1,100 – $1,600 (amounts subject to change).
- Up to $187,200 affordable 20-30 year mortgage, with a payment of about $500 per month
- Monthly escrow payment of approximately $500 which includes taxes, insurance, and short and long-term maintenance, costs for common areas.
- Homeowner pays utilities, water, and sewer.
- Total monthly housing payment (mortgage + escrow) is approximately $1,100-$1,600
- An applicant’s total annual family income must fall between 40% – 60% of the area median income. For a family of four, that falls between $50,525 and $80,520.
If applicants have declared bankruptcy, they must wait five (5) years after being discharged and establishing good credit to apply for a Habitat house.
Criteria 3: Willingness to Partner/Sweat Equity
The family must demonstrate a willingness to participate as a partner with Habitat. Prospective homeowners must demonstrate a commitment to their home and community, as well as to Habitat. These criteria will be determined by interviewing the applicant families and their references. If selected as a Habitat homeowner, you will be required to:
- Commit yourself and all adult family members, in writing, to work between 240 and 360 hours with Habitat for Humanity while your home is under construction;
- Pay your mortgage on time so that more homes can be built (this will be determined by obtaining your credit report);
- Maintain your home inside and out, including doing the necessary landscaping and cleaning of the common areas.
In accordance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act, Essex County Habitat for Humanity does not discriminate with regards to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, family status, marital status, receipt of public assistant income, or age (provided that the applicant has the capacity to enter into a binding contract).