If you’ve ever volunteered to work on a Habitat for Humanity build, you know the people who will soon get the keys to that home are usually working right there next to you – earning those sweat equity hours.
"It feels awesome!" said Sylvia Hubbard – who hammered and labored for 250 hours on her house – and others – as part of the program to become a Habitat Detroit homeowner.
The 9-1-1 operator is a single Mom who rented in Detroit for 15 years before applying to buy a home through Habitat Detroit.
"I think when they accepted me into the program, I was at $25,000 [income a year] with three kids, homeless, living in a temporary house,” she recalled.
She says fear is the main reason she didn't apply for so long.
So, she’s not surprised some of Habitat Detroit’s new homes remain empty.
One of those boarded-up, brand new houses was one that the WXYZ/WMYD staff helped build last year in our annual BuildUp with Habitat for Humanity Detroit.
Since 1986, Habitat Detroit has built or rehabbed 350 homes in Detroit and Wayne County, and 120 of those homes are in the Morningside neighborhood on Detroit’s east side.
Most of those houses are proudly owned by Habitat Family Partners like Sylvia Hubbard.
But by the end of the year, 14 Habitat Detroit homes will empty -- ready for a buyer or family to move in.
Habitat Detroit confirms 11 homes are currently available to sell:
· 3 new homes
· 5 rehabs
· 2 new homes currently under construction
· 1 new home will start construction in late August
Note: 3 more homes will be rehabbed during 2016 Blitz Build beginning August 8 in Detroit which will bring the total number of homes waiting to be purchased to 14.
Qualified home buyers aren't knocking down Habitat's doors.
Tamra Fountaine, Habitat for Humanity Detroit’s Family Services Director, told 7 Action News between 500 and 700 individuals apply every year for the homeownership program.
“We have a lot of people who apply but don't follow through,” said Fountaine. “Again we have people who believe that can't attain home ownership."
Hubbard hopes people will go through the application process to learn about the financial aspect of home ownership.
Her zero-percent interest mortgage ended up being 25-dollars less than her rent had been!
“When I say hand-holding, [the Habitat Detroit staff] really guide you through the entire process,” she explained.
If you’re interested in becoming a Habitat Detroit homeowner, here are some of the main requirements:
· First-time homebuyer
· Credit score of 550 or higher
· $2000 down payment
· 250-350 Sweat Equity hours
· Income for 0% mortgage + homeowners insurance + property taxes
LEASE TO OWN
Since finding homeowners has been a challenge for Habitat Detroit, the organization has started a new "Lease to Own" program.
This involves new or rehabbed homes that will be rented out to those who are not ready to purchase.
Tamra Fountaine said this will help those who need housing but are not fully eligible for the Homeownership Program.
The two homes our staff members and volunteers will be painting on in our WXYZ / WMYD Buildup August 8, 2016, are rehabs in the “Lease to Own" program in the Core City neighborhood.
You can sign up to paint with us at the Buildup –either in the morning or afternoon.
Volunteer spaces are going fast.