A primer on process:
A Habitat for Humanity Home Dedication touches the hearts of the family who will own the home, the volunteers who worked to build or rehab the home and the donors who made it possible through their generous gifts. Home ownership is a significant investment and the Dedication is an opportunity to turn over the key to the home in celebration of all the work that the family, donors and volunteers put into the home.
It all starts with an application. Usually, a prospective family partner will have heard of Habitat for Humanity through a friend, a co-worker, a community organization or the media. We ask the family to meet with us before submitting the application to be sure they understand the unique requirements for buying a Habitat for Humanity home. For instance, they need to have lived in Prince William County, Manassas or Manassas Park for at least the last year to qualify. Also, they must show us they have a need for housing assistance, they must have an ability to pay for a mortgage and they must be willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity through “sweat equity”, a volunteer service requirement.
A family’s “need” may be that they live in substandard housing currently, i.e., overcrowded housing, decrepit building conditions, transitional housing, homelessness…or the generally prevalent condition of paying more than 30% of their household income on their housing. They must earn between 30% – 50% of the area median income based on family size. These numbers are published annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). And, the family must be willing to provide 250 hours of volunteer service to Habitat for Humanity if there will be one adult in the household, or 350 hours of service if more than one adult will live in the home.
Proof of identity, income verification, expense verification, a credit score of 620, and completion of home ownership and money management education classes is required in the application process. Credit checks are made, as are landlord references and employment verification.
The Family Selection Committee is made of volunteers from the community. They work with staff to review the application, to make a Home Visit, and to recommend approval to the Board of Directors. Once the family has been approved and has provided 35 hours of sweat equity “down payment”, a property is assigned.
After the rehab is completed or the home is built, the family purchases the home from Habitat for Humanity. An appraisal of the property is done which establishes the overall price of the home. A first mortgage is made so that the family is paying 30% or less of their household income on their mortgage. The balance between the appraised price and the first mortgage are placed in subsidiary mortgages that are discounted over time. If the family were to sell or refinance the home, the subsidiary mortgages balances would need to be paid back. This makes the home affordable to the homeowner and yet retains equity for the seller/donor that is supplying the subsidy (i.e., Habitat for Humanity).
We are working through the application process for the next home we’ll rehab on Central Park Drive in Woodbridge. The Family Selection Committee and staff are hoping to make a recommendation to the Board of Directors soon so that we can begin a spring rehab! We hope that you’ll join us in our next project by donating generously and volunteering your time. We look forward to working with you!