Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area is now accepting applications for the Habitat Homeownership Program to provide affordable housing options for local residents.
Kahya Fox, the executive director for Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area, said they’re looking for three families who are interested in moving into homeownership.
“It is usually something that people spend a lot of time thinking about, but it is one of those amazing things that really is something that families look forward to,” Fox said. “To provide safety, stability, and affordability to their lives, a way to invest money, a way to build wealth, safety and equity for their families.”
Fox encourages anybody who thinks that they might not be eligible to be a homeowner to consider and look into the Habitat Homeownership Program.
They are looking for families who normally wouldn’t qualify for a home loan in the regular marketplace, families who struggle to find safe and affordable housing and also families or individuals who have lower income, and don’t necessarily have what it would take monthly to pay a traditional mortgage.
Fox added it’s not as overwhelming as it may seem.
“There’s an application packet and supporting documentation that we need, but it’s really not as daunting as it might look,” she said. “It’s a really wonderful opportunity to understand more about Habitat’s programs, and also understand the steps that you need to take in order to be a Habitat homeowner.”
Who would be the best fit for these homes?
They look for three different criteria at Habitat for Humanity. One of them is the willingness to partner and work alongside staff and volunteers, as well as volunteering themselves.
The majority of Habitat families work building their own homes. Fox said it’s anywhere between 350 and 400 sweat-equity hours that they’ve asked families to complete on those homes.
“That’s a really beautiful thing that you get to meet your neighbors, you get to meet people in the community, and you get to learn about how your home operates and be comfortable with making repairs on your own home,” Fox said.
Habitat also looks for the ability to pay a mortgage because they don’t want to set families up for failure. Factors include a somewhat decent credit score, a decent payment history and steady income so that they can afford to make a mortgage payment every single month.
The final criteria, which Fox said is really unique to Habitat for Humanity, is the need for housing.
“We really want to know which families have the most need, their current living conditions, how much rent are they paying based on the income that they’re bringing in,” Fox said. “We really want to find and help those families that could most benefit from a Habitat home.”
Habitat has staff available to help with any questions during the application process. They want to encourage members of the community that have made the decision to be a homeowner to think about Habitat for Humanity as an option.
Applicants can get more information and download the application packet here.
Applications need to be returned to the Habitat offices by 5 p.m. June 8. If applications have issues or are missing details, staff with contact applicants to make sure they receive the full information.
“It’s a working relationship that we have with all of our applicants and we’re just really excited about being able to offer three new homes for families in this community,” Fox said. “Hopefully somebody listening would be interested in being a Habitat homeowner and will be working with us in the future.”