Q. How do I qualify to be a Habitat homeowner?
A. To qualify for the program, applicants must meet at least these four basic requirements:
- Residency: Applicants must be legal U. S. residents, who have lived or worked in Beaufort or Jasper County for a minimum of six months prior to application.
- Need: Applicants must be currently living in substandard housing, which can mean it is overcrowded, in poor repair, in an unsafe neighborhood, or overpriced. If the applicant is living with friends or relatives, or is homeless, that can be taken into consideration.
- Ability to Pay: Applicants must have a low income, but still be able to afford a Habitat mortgage payment. In addition, we do a credit check to make sure the applicant is responsible with his/her credit. We don’t expect it to be perfect, but a poor credit history is taken into account.
- Willingness to Partner: Applicants must be willing to partner with Habitat in our mission. All homeowners are required to contribute “sweat equity” hours by volunteering time on their own home, other Habitat homes and at the ReStore and attending educational workshops. A single-adult family must complete 300 hours of sweat equity; a two-adult family must complete 400 hours.
Q. Where do I fill out an application?
A. Applications are only distributed during open application periods. New Family Orientation meetings are held on an as needed basis. These meetings explain the homeowner program in detail and provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions. Please check our website periodically to see when meetings are scheduled.
Q. Where do you build homes?
A. We build homes on land in southern Beaufort County (south of the Broad River) and in Jasper County. We are currently building homes on Hilton Head Island.
Q. Are the homes free?
A. No. All homeowners pay for their homes with a no-interest, no-profit mortgage. Mortgage payments are designed to be affordable.
Q. Do I have to do all of the sweat equity myself?
A. No. In fact, homeowners are encouraged to ask their friends, family, co-workers and church members for help with some of the sweat equity required of our partners.
Q. If I’m selected for the program, can I choose the size and style of the home?
A. No. We build from a selection of Habitat floor plans. We choose the floor plan best suited for a piece of land and appropriateness for family size. We also occasionally rehabilitate homes.