If you are not familiar with Habitat for Humanity you might think it is a single-faceted housing organization that works to build brand new homes for those in need. And you would be partially correct. However, there is more to L-C Valley Habitat for Humanity. So, I would like to share with you 3 things you might not know about your local L-C Valley Habitat, as well as Habitat for Humanity chapters around the world.
#1 First and foremost, Habitat for Humanity doesn’t just “give houses away"
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the organization. Habitat for Humanity does not “give houses away,” rather, there is a structured process for purchasing a Habitat home. This process consists of attending several informational meetings, filling out a detailed application, attending interviews, and being willing to partner with Habitat (more about this under #3 – Sweat Equity). In addition to meeting the criteria above, homeowners also need to be within a certain income range depending on how many dependents are in that family. This income range is necessary because it bases applicants off financial need, but also makes sure that homeowners will be able to maintain their own home with an affordable payment plan. Our goal is not to set people up for failure, but rather to help homeowners become self-reliable while still being able to pursue other opportunities (like education) without their mortgage serving as a financial barrier.
#2 Not just brand-new houses, but also home repair and improvement to already existing homes
In addition to brand-new homes, we also renovate already existing homes. We repair and improve homes and neighborhoods through programs such as Brush with Kindness and our Clarkston Affordable Home Repair program. These help improve local neighborhoods and promote the idea of a “decent home,” which is a safe home.
#3 The importance of “Sweat Equity”
As I mentioned above, homeowners who partner Habitat pay an affordable mortgage (there is a zero percent interest rate), but the catch is that they are required to participate in sweat equity. This means that Habitat homeowners help build their homes alongside volunteers. I have had some prospective homeowners tell me that they are ineligible for obtaining a home through Habitat for Humanity because they can’t do any physical labor due to a disability. However, what these applicants do not know is that there are other ways they can participate in sweat equity. This might be things like bringing water bottles to the volunteers or help with various special events. Habitat will think of something and work with all individuals!