Portland, OR. 2016 as been a busy year for Portland’s Habitat for Humanity and the new homeowners who are part of the program. The nonprofit does not build homes for people, but with them as equal partners. Homeowners must invest 500 hours of “sweat equity” into the building of their home. The homes are then sold at no profit, with an affordable mortgage. Each homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund that is used to build more local Habitat homes.
Here are some details about the program:
Habitat homes are built with a volunteer labor force, utilizing building materials and services that are donated by local business as well as individual and corporate donations. Working in partnership with individuals, businesses, neighborhood groups, and organizations, Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East has built over 300 simple, decent homes since 1981.
Families are selected based on the following criteria:
- First-time homebuyer.
- Citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S.
- Currently living in substandard or subsidized housing, and earning 35-60% of Portland MFI.
- Ability to repay a mortgage (satisfactory credit and stable income).
- Willingness to partner with Habitat.
Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East serves low-income families earning 35% to 60% of the Portland area’s median family income (MFI) or approximately $25,865 – $44,340 for a family of four. Habitat is the only program in the Portland area that offers homeownership opportunities to families in the 35% bracket.
Habitat sells houses for market value, which cannot be determined until the house is complete. No matter what the price of the house, Habitat is committed to keeping housing payments affordable. Habitat partner families’ housing payments will be set at 30% of their household gross monthly incomes at the time of sale. This monthly amount will include the mortgage payment, homeowners’ insurance, possibly HOA dues, and property taxes.