housing faq

Q: How does Habitat work?

A: Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with Habitat homeowner (partner) families and volunteers. Habitat homes are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable, zero-interest loans. The homeowner is responsible for the monthly mortgage payment. The revenue received from the mortgage payments is used to support Habitat’s programs.

Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners are required to invest a minimum of 400 hours of their own labor – “sweat equity” — into building their Habitat home and the homes of others.

Q: Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to become a Habitat homeowner?

A: You must be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident to qualify for a Habitat home. In addition, you must reside or be employed within our affiliate boundaries in Palm Beach County at the time of the application.

Q: Can I qualify if I am handicapped?

A: Yes. Habitat will work out a special arrangement by which you can satisfy Habitat’s “sweat equity” requirements through limited construction duties, work at the Habitat Re-Store, or by working in the office. In addition, modifications will be made during the construction of your home in order to make it accessible.

Q: Do I have to participate in the construction of the home?

A: Yes, that is a key part of the Habitat 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. Homeowners must satisfy the requirement of a minimum of 400 hours of “sweat equity.”

Q: Can I start my required “sweat equity” hours whenever I want?

A: A homeowner can only begin their sweat equity hours once accepted into the Habitat program. However, you can volunteer with Habitat before completing the home application process to get a feel for the program.

Q: Can I select the location and size of my house?

A: Habitat can only build homes where Habitat lots are available. Habitat builds 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes and will assign your family the appropriate size house.

Q: Who do I need to include on my application?

A: The Applicant and Co-Applicant is who will be the owner of the home. In the Dependents Section, everyone who will be living in the home will need to be listed. This includes children, parents, and significant others.

Q: If I am married, do I have to apply with my spouse?

A: If you are legally married you must apply with your spouse because Florida is a “community property” state. If you are separated you will need to finalize a divorce before closing on your home.

Q: I have income such as social security and or disability. Does Habitat Count that?

A: To be accepted into our program you must demonstrate income within our guidelines; we will combine all sources of applicant(s) income to determine the household income total. If you are retired or do not work, you must still have an income within our income guidelines.

Q: What if I need or want to sell my Habitat house?

A: We want to build homes for people to live in, not to sell and make a profit. We do have guidelines for selling your home, though. All of the details will be discussed during our applicant orientation.

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