Breaking down the Habitat Homeownership Program
No, Habitat doesn’t give away homes.
This is one of the most common misconceptions about our work. We’re not sure how the rumor got started, but we’re here to set the record straight. Let’s break down the Habitat homeownership program!
Once per year, Habitat opens up the homeownership applications. We spread the word through partner organizations, traditional advertising, social media, word of mouth, and more. Interested community members fill out an application and submit to Habitat staff.
The Habitat Homeowner Selection & Support Committee reviews applications. All applications remain anonymous until decisions are made. Committee members—made up of Habitat staff, board, and volunteers—rank applicants on several criteria. The main criteria include need for housing, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat.
In addition to the written application material, a home visit is a key part in assessing a potential homeowner. Committee members will see that state of an applicant’s current housing and take that into consideration when ranking their need for housing.
Highest ranking applicants are selected for Habitat homes. The number of selections depends on how many homes Habitat has under construction. Location matters, too. If we have a potential homeowner looking for a house in Monroe County, but currently we’re only building in La Crosse County, we won’t force them to move to La Crosse. We will hold onto their application and wait until we are building in Monroe County.
Once a homeowner is selected, their partnership with Habitat begins.
So there you have it! The Habitat Homeownership Process:
- Prospective homeowner applies to Habitat
- Habitat Homeowner Selection & Support Committee review applications & makes selection
- Selected applicants take homebuyer counseling classes
- Habitat constructs home
- Selected applicants put in 350 sweat equity hours
- Habitat completes home
- Habitat orders appraisal on home
- Habitat sells home to partner family for full appraised value & hands over the keys
- Welcome home!
Darshida has been working to become a homeowner for years. She is a passionate nurse, a dedicated mother to four boys, and a longtime La Crosse resident. After years of hard work and unforeseen obstacles, Darshida and her family moved into their new home in spring 2023.