What We Do

HISTORY

Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical, Christian housing ministry with headquarters in Americus, Georgia.

Habitat for Humanity currently builds in more than 3500 locales is 92 countries around the world. As of December 2003, Habitat volunteers and partner families had completed 160,000 to house more than 800,000 of God’s people in simple, decent affordable homes.

Greater Charlottesville Habitat for Humanity was established in 1990, incorporated in 1991, and dedicated its first home in October 1992. The Louisa County chapter began in early 2001, a steering committee was formed in late summer of that year, and construction of the first Habitat home in Louisa County was begun in the summer of 2002 and dedicated in the spring of 2003. As we write this in the early spring of 2008, we are completing our fifth home in partnership with the Martin family.

Louisa County Habitat for Humanity continues to operate as a chapter of greater Charlottesville Habitat for Humanity. Three of the members of Louisa’s steering committee serve on the board of directors of the Charlottesville affiliate: Karen Cooke, Wynn Volz, and Jim Wolf.

 


HOW FAMILIES ARE CHOSEN

Habitat for Humanity selects families who currently live in substandard or overcrowded housing, who have the ability to repay an interest-free mortgage, and who are willing to partner with Habitat in building homes, including their own. In order to qualify, a family’s income must fall between 25 and 50 percent of area median income; for a family of four living in Louisa, a family would need to earn between $1,092 and $2,184 per month. These families would have very little chance to own a home without the helping hand of Habitat.

Partner families pay the approximate cost of land and materials for their house, usually around $60,000 for a house and lot worth more than $100,000. Monthly mortgage payments, including taxes and insurance, are $275 to $435 for 15 - 30 years, depending on the family’s ability to repay.

Since a Habitat home appraises for much more than the cost to the partner family, the resulting equity is held by Habitat in a "second mortgage" that is forgiven over the life of the first mortgage loan.

The monthly mortgage payments go into a Fund for Humanity that is used to help build additional Habitat homes. Based on the current sale price and mortgage terms, this means that for every 20 homes completed, another is fully funded every year.

 


THE FAMILY SELECTION PROCESS

1) Individuals are asked to complete a detailed application and supply supporting documentation.

2) Volunteers verify personal, employer and landlord references and review credit report and income documentation. If family qualifies,

3) Two volunteers conduct financial interview. The family is given the opportunity to explain “blemishes” on credit report or irregularities in employment history. Volunteers explain sweat equity and down payment requirements in more detail. If family expresses willingness to partner, their income is stable, and any credit issues are such that they can be cleared up by the time their home is completed,

4) Volunteers conduct a home visit to determine the family’s need based on their current housing situation.

5) Volunteers present families’ cases to the Family Selection committee for vote. If the family is selected,

6) Family Nurture committee assigns an advocate to work with the partner family. The advocate serves as the family’s liaison with Habitat.

7) Once approved, partner family begins to save down payment ($1,250.00) and to put in sweat equity hours by working on other people’s homes or by performing other community service. Sweat equity requirement is 200 hours for a single-parent family, 300 for a two-parent family.

8) Family works with Louisa County housing counselor to prepare for home ownership: to clean up credit, to learn budgeting, and to learn the basics of home maintenance.

9) When partner has saved $600.00 towards down payment and performed 100 hours of sweat equity (or 50 hours for single-parent household), construction may begin on their home. The remainder of their sweat equity is put in on their house.

10) Home is completed! Partner repays an interest-free mortgage to Habitat. Habitat holds a first mortgage for the actual cost to construct the home and a forgivable second mortgage for the difference between the cost to build and the appraised value of the house (value of the volunteer labor). A portion of the second mortgage is forgiven every year the family lives in the house. The family’s mortgage payments go into the Fund for Humanity to help build more houses.

 


TO APPLY TO BECOME A HABITAT PARTNER FAMILY

If you are interested in partnering with Louisa County Habitat for Humanity to build your own home, you may call 540-967-0486 and your name will be put on the list of families to be notified of the next informational meeting. Or you may e-mail us at brownsb@verizon.net.

If you would like to speak with someone to find out if you may qualify, you may call the Louisa County housing counselor at 540-967-3483.

 

 

 

 

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