1. Do you give away homes to people who are poor, disabled or on welfare?
No. Gloucester County Habitat is both a builder and a mortgage company. All applicants who qualify for a home must have a steady source of income, from working and/or non-working sources, and must repay a 20-year mortgage with on-time, in-full payments each and every month.
2. How does Habitat work?
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds simple, decent and affordable homes in partnership with Habitat Partner families. Habitat homes are then sold to qualified partner families at no profit and financed with affordable, 0% interest loans. The homeowner is responsible for the monthly mortgage payment, property tax payment and homeowners insurance. The revenue received from the monthly mortgage payments is used to build more homes.
3. Do I have to be a Christian to become a Habitat Homeowner?
Habitat for Humanity was founded as, and still is, a non-denominational, Christian housing ministry. However, Habitat homeowners are selected into the program without regard to race, religion or ethnic group. Habitat also welcomes volunteers of all faiths, or no faiths, who actively embrace Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing.
4. Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to become a Habitat Homeowner?
Yes. You must either be a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident to qualify for a Habitat Home.
5. How are partner (homeowner) families selected?
Families in need of decent shelter apply to local Habitat affiliates. Homeowners are selected based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan. Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families who receive Habitat houses.
6. How do I find out if I’m eligible for the program?
If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing, please click here. If you’re not sure where your local Habitat affiliate might be, use the search engine to find the names and phone numbers of affiliates in your area. Your local affiliate will provide all necessary information on the availability, size, costs and “sweat equity” requirements for Habitat houses in your area as well as descriptive information on the application process.
7. Do I have to have children to qualify for a Habitat House?
No. Habitat is a Fair Housing agency, which means we do not discriminate based on race/color, religion, sex/gender, national origin, disability, or familial status. Thus, our program is open to all household types including individuals, couples, single parents with children, couples with children, etc.
8. Can I qualify if I am handicapped?
Yes. Habitat will work out a special arrangement by which you can satisfy Habitat’s “sweat equity” requirements through limited construction duties or work at the Habitat Restore. In addition, modifications will be made during the construction of your home in order to make it accessible.
9. Do I have to participate in the construction of the home?
Yes. This is a key part of the Habitat for Humanity home ownership program, which we call “sweat equity”. Homeowners work alongside Habitat staff and volunteers in the construction of their own homes and those of their neighbors. All families must satisfy the minimum requirement of 350 “sweat equity” hours before moving into their home if selected to be a habitat partner family.
10. Are there restrictions on owning a Habitat House?
Yes. Like all other affordable housing programs, Gloucester County Habitat requires that its houses are homeowner occupied. This means that you cannot use it for business purposes, move out and leave it empty, rent it out, or move out and let others live there instead. These restrictions generally remain in place for 30 years. And, like all other mortgage companies, Habitat requires that the property (house and yard) are maintained in good condition.
11. If my income increases after I have bought my house, will that affect my status?
No. Habitat encourages all of its homeowners to continually improve their financial status through additional education, training, or job promotions/changes that provide better pay, hours and/or locations. Our hopes are that having a stable home will free up time and energy to pursue additional opportunities. We’ve had homeowners who have consistently paid their mortgages, continued to work and returned to school for certifications or degrees to increase their earnings.
12. What happens if I can’t work due to illness/injury, or have my hours cut, and can’t pay my mortgage?
Gloucester County Habitat’s staff works directly with homeowners if they cannot pay their mortgage due to temporary or permanent changes in income. Habitat meets with homeowners to better understand the circumstances, puts plans in place to get payments back on track, and sends monthly letters documenting progress. We work with all of our homeowners who have the commitment, follow-through and resources to help them keep their houses.
13. If I want to more space or bedrooms than Habitat’s guidelines allow, can I do that?
No. Gloucester County Habitat typically builds 3 bedroom homes which are approx. 1200 square feet. Our homes are affordable, energy efficient and provide adequate living and storage space for most families.
14. Can I have a garage or carport added to a Habitat house?
No. Gloucester County Habitat does not build garages or carports.
15. If I own land, can Habitat build a house on it?
Maybe. Our program is for first-time homeowners – anyone who has not owned a house in three years, or ever. If you own land in Gloucester County, we might be able to construct a home on it, but our construction department will need to evaluate it. But, more importantly, you will need to apply to and be approved for our home-ownership program in the exact same manner as all other applicants. (You are not guaranteed a home because you donated the land.)
16. How does Habitat decide where to build?
Can I ask for a specific location? Habitat acquires land either through purchase or donation, so we have limited areas where we build. Applicants who want to be part of our program must be willing to live where we are currently building. We do not accept applicants requesting specific locations.
17. How long is it from the time I apply for a home until I close and move in?
Typically, families close on and move into their homes about 18-36 months after their initial application is submitted. Since our program relies on sponsors to fund the homes and community volunteers to help construct them, this time-frame can vary. The time-frame allows applicants to plan for their move, save money for the closing costs, complete the sweat equity hours required by our program (a minimum of 500), and participate fully in the construction of their own home.
18. How can I apply for a home?
Once a year, Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity opens the pre-applications for homeownership. We encourage you to check back in the spring of 2021!