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Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area Inc seeks to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by working in partnership with people who blend their time, talent and gifts to build simple, decent housing with families in need so all are encouraged to be what God intended.      ----Mission Statement, Habitat for Humanity, Lima Area, Inc.

It takes a community to build a Habitat house

Introduction

Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc. needs families.  But not just any family.  Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc. needs families who know that how they are living is not good or healthy.  They want something better and are willing to work hard to get it.  These are families that do not have enough income for what it takes to get a loan from a bank or other financial institution to make a move into better conditions possible. 

Habitat needs families that are willing to do what it takes to make things different and who will take pride in the work of their own hands.  Those who administer Habitat and those who support it believe that these people who cannot become homeowners the conventional way should nevertheless be able to achieve that dream.  They form a community that walks alongside of families that are motivated to do the needed work to become a homeownerﴠof a ㍡nsion⵴ of a well-built simple decent house.  Thus it can truly be said that 䠍 takes a community to build a Habitat house.p;

Central to the Habitat way is the INDIVIDUAL or FAMILY that qualifies according the basic requirements of the program.  Briefly stated, the qualifications are demonstrated need, the ability to repay a mortgage loan, and a willingness to partner in the construction of their home.  These qualifications are explained in greater detail in the next section.

When a family is approved for a house, they become a Ჴner Family튉 and the resources of the community are brought together to respond to their need.  These resources include financial resources to pay the costs of the construction and volunteers who give time and skills to help build the house.  These resources are community membersviduals, churches, businesses, service clubs, and governmental services诠believe that no family should live in sub-standard housing. 

Behind the scenes are the employed staff, Board and Committee members of the organization that facilitate the larger process.  These persons coordinate the larger process drawing on the experience of many affiliates across the country and around the world to make it all go as smoothly as possible.

Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc. is committed to the development of decent, affordable homes. We also are committed to work with partner families to insure that the experience of long term home ownership is positive and successful. Homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, or 祡t equity,鮴o building their Habitat house and they pay back a no-profit, no-interest mortgage.  Families are trained and supported in a variety of skills, including: basic construction skills to assist in the building of their house; home maintenance skills; various home improvement and interior design skills; neighborhood involvement and cooperation skills; budgeting and consumer awareness skills; and others as necessary.

We have had the pleasure over the years of working side-by-side with many families in Allen County and the portion of Van Wert County in the city of Delphos.  Many of our Partner Families are amazing people committed to working hard, helping themselves achieve the dream of purchasing and owning their own home. Each home has a story; each home has touched the lives of many people. We are excited about the future of Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc. and look forward to all of the new stories waiting to be written.

Family Selection Criteria

Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc. utilizes a Family Selection Committee to guide the selection process for a Partner Family. The team believes and insists on nondiscriminatory family selection criteria for all homeowner families. Race, color, ethnic origin, religion, gender and family composition are not factors considered in the selection process. Partner families are selected according to the following criteria.

A.  A demonstrated need for adequate and affordable housing: Partner families must demonstrate that their present housing arrangement does not qualify as adequate shelter. Examples of inadequate/unaffordable shelter are listed below:

  • 1.  Structural issues -- problems with wiring, plumbing, etc.
  • 2.  Overcrowding �e than two people per bedroom or persons sleeping in areas typically designated as living space such as a living room.
  • 3.  Homeless -- Living in temporary housing with relatives, transitional housing, in an automobile, etc.
  • 4  Cost-Burdened 桭ily is paying more than 50% of their income on housing.
  • 5.  Unsafe and/or unsanitary living conditions inside and/or outside the dwelling.
  • 6.  Family has tried and is unable to obtain a loan from other sources.
  • 7.  Family has tried and is unable to obtain decent affordable rental housing.

Some questions that will help to determine need:

  • 1.  Is where you live run-down in need of repairs that your landlord seems unwilling to do?
  • 2.  Is where you live drafty with leaky windows and doors making the space costly and hard to heat?
  • 3.  Do your housing expenses宴, heat, electricity, water/sewer, gas᫥ more than half of your monthly income?
  • 4.  Are you ﭥless,쩶ing with relatives or friends without a place that you can claim as your personal space?
  • 5.  Do you live in a community where you feel unsafe or your children cannot play safely outside?
  • 6.  Is your house overcrowded with more than two persons using a bedroom or with persons sleeping in what would normally be living space?
  • 7.  Are you willing to learn about homeownership including enrolling in homeownership training classes?

B.  Ability to make monthly house payments: The average monthly payment for a Habitat for Humanity house is $250-350.  To be approved for a house an applicant must demonstrate the ability to make such monthly payments.  There must be sufficient income (gross) to afford not only the monthly payments but also other costs associated with Habitat home ownership.

Gross income is based on the TOTAL household income including public assistance, child support, alimony payments and funds obtained from the employment of ALL people living in the home.  The gross income must fall between 30% and 60% of the area median income.  Applicants must demonstrate that they have had this level of income for a minimum of six months prior to applying.

In addition applicants must not be currently in bankruptcy.  If they have been involved in a bankruptcy in the past it must have been fully discharged by the Courts for 2 years before an application can be considered. 

The amount of debt the applicant has at the time of application is also a critical element in being approved for a house.  The total amount of debt cannot be more than 40% of the total income.  Debts include such things as payments on consumer loans, credit cards, and car loans.  OneӤebt-loadᬳo includes any payments to resolve credit issues found in a credit report that will be run at the time of application.   Any collections that appear on the report must be dealt with either through pay-off or the establishment of a payment plan. 

Use the chart below to determine your family঩nancial eligibility.  Total household income for an entire month must fall within the range that matches your family size.  Since we build in the part of Delphos, OH that is in Van Wert County, a chart for Van Wert County is included along with Allen County.

 

Year 2016 Guidelines (Lima/Allen County)

Family Size

Minimum Annual Income

Maximum Annual Income

One

$16,350.00

$32,700.00

Two

$19,700.00

$37,400.00

Three

$23,250.00

$42,050.00

Four

$26,750.00

$46,700.00

Five

$30,000.00

$50,450.00

Six

$33,250.00

$54,200.00

Seven

$36,250.00

$57,950.00

Eight

$38,550.00

$61,650.00


Key questions that are considered in determining the ability to pay a mortgage loan:

  • 1.  Has your gross income from all sources been consistent for at least six months? 
  • 2.  How many persons do you plan to have living in the house if you should qualify?  This number constitutes your ᭩ly size稥ther all are related or not.
  • 3.  For the size of your family does your gross income fall between the amounts in the chart above?
  • 4.  Have you gone through bankruptcy?  If so, has it been discharged for at least two years?
  • 5.  Do you know what you owe?  Are you willing to work hard to reduce your 墴-load鮣luding making arrangements to pay off any collections that might be listed on your credit report?

C.  Willingness to Partner Habitat believes that personal involvement in the whole process engenders greater personal ownership in the final outcome when the house is finished and it becomes a ﭥ毲 the partner family.  The term used for this personal involvement is 祡t Equity.ﳴrong> 

Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc. requires the following hours for Sweat Equity for each family selected to be a "partner family" in the Habitat movement.

  • 1.  for a single person or single parent: 150 hours
  • 2.  for a married couple (or if two jointly wish to own a house): 250 hours
  • 3.  for all:  200 hours invested by family and friends

Sweat Equity can be done in a variety of ways:

  • 1.  working on the preparation of your lot to make it ready for construction
  • 2.  working on the actual construction姩stering volunteers each work day, framing, roofing, painting, cleanup after workdays, etc. under the direction of the Construction Manager
  • 3.  working in the Habitat office or in the ReStore
  • 4.  taking homeownership training classes
  • 5.  working with other non-profit agencies in the area

Key questions to ask about the Sweat Equity:

  • 1.  Are you willing to sacrifice time from other activities to make this dream possible?
  • 2.  Are you willing to do work that you may not know how to do but are willing to be taught to do it?
  • 3.  Are you willing to get dirty, working sometimes in hot, sweaty conditions?
  • 4. Are you willing to take classes that help you understand the responsibilities of owning a home on topics of financial accountability, maintenance, and foreclosure prevention?
  • 5.  Do you understand that if you do not fulfill the sweat equity requirements by the time that the house is ready to occupy you may not be able to take ownership until the sweat equity is completed?

Other Considerations in the Selection Process

The three areas outlined above are what we consider in selecting a family to become a Ჴner Family鮠the program of Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc.  While these are the areas that are considered in order to qualify, there are other things to keep in mind as one anticipates becoming a homeowner.

  • 1.  Do you understand that after you move into your house as a homeowner that you will be responsible for taking care of it including all maintenance and upkeep?  While we do provide a one-year limited warranty on the house, how you maintain the house is critically important. This fact alone is what makes learning during the sweat equity process so very important.
  • 2.  The application process may seem to take a long time to complete.  It can be moved along faster if you give high priority to gathering the needed material requested and getting it in for Family Selection Committee review.  All information that is requested must be true and accurate. Withholding or falsifying information will result in the application being rejected. The application process verifies information on home buyer applications, including: income, current rent, relationship with landlord, and account status with utility companies.
  • 3.  Being accepted as a Partner Family is only the first step leading to the construction of a house through our program. Before a house can be built a lot to build on must be secured and the finances for covering the costs of building must be raised.  The lot on which to build will be determined by Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc. according to the affiliate build plan and schedule. The Partner Family can decline the lot but will be moved to the end of the waiting list if one exists.  Funding for the house will be raised through sponsoring groups (if any), individual contributions, businesses, grants, and affiliate funds including ReStore sales and mortgage payments.
  • 4.  Finally, it is crucial to remember that while Habitat for Humanity is a corporate entity, it is even more a community of persons across our area that makes it all possible.  The best way to express gratitude for a lovely simple decent house is to prepare well for homeownership.  Then when that day comes to finally take actual ownership of the house to take the best care of it posible is a further expression of gratitude. You as a partner family become the face of Habitat for Humanity and thus play a significant role in making possible for others to also own their own home.

A Last Word.  

You have read through a lot of detail about what takes to qualify for a house through Habitat for Humanity-Lima Area, Inc.  It may seem like too much work to qualify or even that it is impossible to do so. 

Remember that more than 40 families have qualified in our affiliate and thousands of others in many other affiliates.  It is true that the house will not be given to you.  It is the rare applicant that does not have work to do to qualify. 

It can be done!  Remember that very often the best things come only after hard work and determination.  The fact that you have read the above description and have thought carefully about the questions in each section suggests that you may indeed be the kind of family that we are looking for. 

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 So, if you want the adventure of a lifetime and are willing to do the work to make it happen, click on the "Applying for a House" tab and begin the application process!