Homeowner Selection Criteria Policy

Habitat for Humanity of Clinton County is a Christian Ministry which seeks to express the love of God by building adequate housing with people in need.

Habitat for Humanity of Clinton County supports the equal housing opportunity statement which reads, “We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation.  We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, family status, or national origin.”  In compliance with the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Habitat for Humanity of Clinton County will not discriminate against an applicant based on their race, color, religion, sex, handicap, family status, national origin, marital status, age or source of income.

Need

Families or individuals will be considered for a Habitat home when their present housing is not adequate and they are unable to obtain adequate housing through other conventional means.  Lack of adequate housing may include problems with the present structure: water, electrical or sewage service systems; heating system; or failure to meet city property maintenance standards.  Also taken into consideration are the number, the ages and the sex of children compared to the number of bedrooms in their current home, as well as their current rental costs as they relate to their total income.

The percentage of monthly income that is currently spent on housing is considered to determine need.  Applicants will be required to openly and fully discuss their financial situation with a Habitat interviewer.

Applicants will be considered when their total income is not more than 60% of the Clinton County median family income using figures provided by the MSHDA Office of Community Development adjusted annually for the current year.  However, special consideration may be given to those families whose income falls between 60% and 80% of the Clinton County median family income, depending on circumstances.  The 2014 figures are as follows:

Household Size

Minimum Annual Income

Maximum Annual

Income

One

$14,450

$38,500

Two

$16,500

$44,000

Three

$18,550

$49,500

Four

$20,600

$54,950

Five

$22,250

$63,700

Six

$23,900

$63,750

Seven

$25,550

$68,150

When the applicant’s income is within this range, they may be considered to become a Habitat partner.

The applicant is unable to obtain a conventional mortgage loan to purchase a home.  Applicants with an income that would qualify for a conventional mortgage will be encouraged to do so and would not qualify for a Habitat home.

 Ability to Pay

Applicants must demonstrate their ability to pay the monthly mortgage payment.  This payment will include not only the repayment of the mortgage loan, but also the payment for real estate taxes and insurance.  Habitat will provide assistance to determine if this payment will jeopardize the applicant’s ability to meet all other financial obligations and expenses.

The applicant must have a satisfactory credit history and references.  Evidence of capability to pay off all bad debts and financial judgments must exist.  All financial judgments must be cleared prior to closing.  Payments on bad debts must begin immediately upon signing the letter of acceptance.

The applicant must show ability to maintain adequate, steady income, and must demonstrate a history of financial responsibility.

The applicant must pay $1,200 as a down payment toward closing costs no later than one month before occupancy, $200 of which is due at the time of signing the letter of acceptance.

Willingness to Participate as a Partner with Habitat

Once selected, the family or individual will become a “partner” in the Habitat process.  To become a “partner,” they must complete 40 hours of volunteer work per adult prior to groundbreaking with Habitat. These hours will count toward their total “sweat equity” contribution to be completed before becoming a homeowner.  The assistance of the selected family or individual in constructing their own home and the homes of others is called “sweat equity,” and may include clearing the lot, painting, helping with construction, providing food for the volunteers or working at the Habitat ReStore or Habitat office.  A partner must complete 250 hours of sweat equity per adult.  Partners can receive credit of up to 80 hours per adult by applying time put in on their behalf by friends and relatives who join in the work.

If an applicant is not a resident of Clinton County, consideration may be given as long as their current circumstances do not impede their ability to perform sweat equity or ability to pay.

Once moved into the Habitat home, homeowners will be responsible for all further maintenance and repairs.

Partner families will be expected to maintain an on-going relationship prior to and throughout the build process with the Habitat Partner Advocate to include financial counseling and household maintenance education as needed. This relationship will be maintained up to one year after the closing of the mortgage.