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Florence, Oregon

Home Ownership

Homeowner being handed key
Family selected for future Habitat Keener Place house, FHFH #23. Brandon & Brittany Moore and sons Joshua & Noah.

HOW TO BECOME A HABITAT HOMEOWNER

About once a year, Florence Habitat has a family selection process which seeks to identify families who want to work with Habitat to become homeowners. The following information answers questions about how to become a Habitat homeowner.

General Information for Applicants

Florence Habitat is not receiving applications for home ownership at this time. Sometime in late 2007 or 2008, a new selection process will begin. A series of informational meetings will be publicized to start the process.

At the meetings, homeowner applications will be available. After completing the application and procuring the necessary documents, applicants call Habitat for a meeting with a member of the Family Selection Committee. When all the supporting documents are submitted, the Family Selection Committee evaluates the applications and makes a recommendation to the Board.

What is the purpose of Florence Habitat for Humanity?
The Florence affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International is building basic, decent housing in the Florence-area in partnership with selected low-income residents who are in need.

How does Habitat work?
The Florence affiliate will select Partner Families and build homes using as much volunteer labor and materials as possible. The Partner Families will contribute to the success of the project by working closely with Habitat personnel. No down payment is required but there probably will be some moderate closing costs. After a Partner Family moves into the home, they repay Habitat over a 30 year period with a payment schedule of no more than 30% of their income.

How is a family selected to become a Partner Family?
All applicants must have lived or worked within the Florence Fire District for one year before applying (see enclosed map). Applications received will be thoroughly checked to determine family need. Other things that will be considered are the ability to repay and the willingness to partner. After evaluating the completed applications and conducting credit and reference checks, three to five applicants will be selected for home visits. After the home visits, one family and a back-up family will be selected from those visited. We plan on building more houses in the future here in Florence and those applicants not selected during the current application period are encouraged to apply in the future.

What is considered in determining family need?
Habitat considers a family to be in need if their current housing or living space is inadequate or their housing costs are excessive.

When is current housing considered inadequate?
If the applicant's current housing has serious problems that can't be corrected without spending a great deal of money (or, in the case of renters, the landlord won't fix them), the housing is considered inadequate. This would include problems with heating, plumbing, electrical or safety, such as rotting wood and other obvious defects. It is also inadequate if it doesn't meet the needs of a disabled family member.

When is living space considered inadequate?
If the applicant's current dwelling doesn't have at least 150 square feet per person, it is considered inadequate. Also, if boys and girls over 7 have to share a bedroom or if more than 3 people have to share a bedroom, it is inadequate, as is a family member having to sleep in a space that is not a bedroom. Lack of indoor bathroom facilities means the dwelling is inadequate. Finally, an applicant living in temporary housing, such as with a relative or in a motel, has inadequate housing.

When are housing costs considered excessive?
If housing costs, including house payments (or rent), taxes, and insurance take more than half of the family income, housing costs are considered excessive. Family income includes wages, public assistance, child support, food stamps, alimony and all other income.

What are the income guidelines for an applicant to be considered further?
This depends on family size. The table below shows the minimum and maximum income guidelines, for the Florence area at this time, for selecting the Partner Family. If an applicant does not meet the minimum income, it may not be possible for the applicant to meet the mortgage payments. Applicants exceeding the maximum income may be eligible to obtain mortgages through regular lenders. These figures are guidelines only and some flexibility will be used in considering applicants.

2006 Income Guidelines - These figures will be changed for the next selection process.

Family Size Minimum Annual Income Maximum Annual Income
1 Person $11,500 $23,000
2 People $13,100 $26,200
3 People $14,750 $29,500
4 People $16,400 $32,800
5 People $17,700 $35,400
6 People $19,000 $38,000
7 People $20,350 $40,700
8 People $21,650 $43,300

What does "willingness to partner" mean?
All applicants must understand that they are in a partnership with Florence Habitat. This means they agree to work with Habitat personnel and volunteers in the construction of their home or other Partner Family homes and they cooperate with Habitat in providing information requested and meet agreed upon schedules.

How does the financial record of the applicant affect the selection?
A standard credit and reference check will be conducted on all applicants. A positive credit history will be a plus in considering an application.

What are the obligations of the selected Partner Families?
The families selected will be expected to hold up their end of the partnership by performing "sweat equity". They will also be obligated to pay back Habitat through monthly house payments. This money will be used by Habitat to build more houses for future Partner Families. The Partner Family will also be responsible for maintaining the home.

What is "sweat equity"?
Sweat equity is the contribution of the Partner Family to the success of the building project.

What kinds of work qualify as sweat equity?
The most obvious kind of work is actual hands-on work on building the house. This can include "pounding nails", painting, site clean-up and so forth. It can also include attending Habitat committee meetings, working in the Habitat office and attending publicity functions. For younger family members, it includes baby-sitting for adults are who working on the house. Sweat equity can include many other things including attending classes on budgeting and home maintenance.

How much sweat equity is required?
For a family with 2 adults, 500 hours are required before the family can occupy the house. For a single adult family, the number is 300 hours. In the case of disabled applicants, these requirements may be decreased.

How does the application process work?
About once a year, the Family Selection Committee has a selection process. It begins with a series of public meetings, in which the home ownership program is explained and applications are given out. Applicants complete the application and make an appointment to review the completed application with a member of the Family Selection Committee. This meeting will take place at the Habitat office at Siuslaw Outreach Services. To make an appointment, please call 902-9227 and leave a message on the answering machine. At this appointment, the applicant must also submit the required documents listed in this packet for review by the committee member.

When will the Partner Family be selected?
After applications have been submitted, the Family Selection Committee works with the applicants to ensure that all parts of the application process are complete. After an initial review of all applications is completed, the final 3 to 5 applicants will receive home visits. Within a few weeks after that, the new homeowners will be selected. All applicants who have had home visits will receive notification when the selection has been made.

When will the selected family be able to move in?
This depends on many factors including how much volunteer labor is available. One important thing is how much sweat equity time the Partner Family can devote to the project.

What happens to applicants not selected as Partner Families?
All applicants not selected during this application period are encouraged to resubmit applications during the next application period. Look for announcements in the Siuslaw paper, radio ads on KCST, and on flyers around town. The Florence affiliate wants to help as many of our low-income neighbors as possible obtain decent affordable housing here in our community.

Required Documents

All applicants who wish to be considered for partnership with Habitat will be asked to provide the following documents at the time their application is turned in:

Last 3 months pay stubs
Last 3 months bank statements
Copy of last 2 years tax returns or SSI award statement
Current year profit and loss statement (if self-employed)
Proof of investment and liquid assets (401K, IRA, stocks, bonds, cash, etc.)
12 months canceled rent checks or verification letter from landlord
Name/address/phone of landlords for past three years
Name/address//phone of 3 local references
Birth certificates and social security cards for all family members
Divorce decree
Letter explaining negative credit that applicant knows of
Bankruptcy documents
Completed information authorization release (FS-8)
Letter explaining why applicant would like a Habitat house
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