Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County provides a unique opportunity for hardworking families to help build and buy their own homes. We work closely with qualified individuals and families to build safe, decent, and affordable homes here in Whatcom.
All of the following eligibility requirements must be met in order to join our homeownership program:
Applicants must have lived in, and currently be living in Whatcom County for a minimum of 1 year.
Ability to pay. Eligible applicants must have the ability to make timely monthly mortgage payments on their Habitat home, and have good credit. Habitat for Humanity sells homes at cost to approved applicants. We can also cover the mortgage as a last resort, if the applicant does not qualify for a conventional mortgage.
Applicants must have an income between 30% – 60% of the area median income for a family of your size.
Future homeowners are required to complete a minimum of 500 hours of volunteer time (sweat equity) before purchasing their home. They must also participate in home-ownership training classes, some financial education, and credit counseling. We ask that our homebuyers demonstrate effort and good faith in working together with us.
There are five circumstances that Habitat considers “substandard.” You must meet one or more of these circumstances.
Habitat performs background and sex offender checks on all members of an applicant family’s household 10 years of age and older. It is our policy not to accept any applicants who have been convicted of a sex crime and/or who must legally have their name on the national sex offender registry.
What is Considered Substandard?
Unsafe living conditions
Unsafe conditions of the housing structure including, but not limited to, inadequate heat, plumbing, water or sewer, irreparable deterioration or damage to the roof or structural components, mold or mildew or other conditions deemed unsafe.
Three or more children sharing a bedroom or do not have a bedroom due to the physical restraints of the housing structure. Children of opposite sexes sharing a bedroom. Children sharing the parent’s bedroom. Parents and children separated and living in different homes due to overcrowding.
Unsustainable rent or mortgage payments, defined as being 30% or more of the household’s annual gross income.
Unsafe conditions due to persistent neighborhood violent criminal or drug activity. Police reports or other proof will be requested.
Unstable condition as a result of living in transitional housing for at least six months (drug or criminal transitional housing does not qualify), or current housing has been condemned or has been sold by the landlord and there are no other comparable opportunities for housing.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Who is selected for the homeownership program?
All applications are processed by our volunteer Homebuyer Selection Committee, with final approval by our Board of Directors.
What is Sweat Equity?
As part of the “down payment,” we ask our partner families to take an active part in building their own homes, as well their neighbor’s. Along with volunteering in construction, sweat equity hours can be fulfilled in many ways, including work at the Habitat Store, our office, or at events. Click here to learn more about fulfilling Sweat Equity hours.
How long does the process take?
Habitat is a permanent, not an immediate, housing solution. If you qualify for our home ownership program, it frequently takes more than a year from the time you qualify to the time your house is complete.
What if I own a home and need help with repairs?
For home repairs, we will tailor your Sweat Equity hours to the size of your project. Otherwise, the remaining requirements and the application process are the same.
How do I know I qualify?
If you are in doubt about your eligibility, it’s a good idea to fill out our Primary Eligibility Form. We will notify you right away if you do not qualify for our program. If you do qualify, you will be kept in our system and we will invite you to formally apply if we are accepting applications.
Contact us today and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.