Habitat for Humanity Southeastern BC is now looking for families who want to own part of a refurbished duplex in Grand Forks.
Family services manager Allison Miller says applications have started to come in through their website, although no families have yet been selected.
How do they ultimately choose?
“That’s the worst part of my job, actually,” she says. “I love giving families the good news that they’ve been selected, but having to tell people they have not been selected …”
She says they select families based on their housing need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with the organization.
Applicants need to be one or two-parent families with at least one child under 16 or an older child who is still a dependent.
They are seeking moderate income families because the houses need to be deemed affordable and they want to ensure the homeowners “thrive.”
“If a family has a big debt load, we have to look at that and ask is the cost of home ownership going to be an additional stress on this family? Can they afford it? If things go wrong and they need to do repairs are they going to be able to maintain and afford this house?”
There is no down payment, but they need to keep up mortgage payments that are tied to their annual income.
Miller says they also look at the family’s present accommodation: is it unsuitable, unsafe, or is the rent too high?
Families are further expected to put in 500 volunteer hours with Habitat or another non-profit, although they can have help from family and friends. That could include working on the build itself or in the organization’s ReStore home and building supply stores.
Habitat looks at how the applicants would work that commitment into their family and working live, she says.
Applicants are interviewed and decisions made by a selection committee. It normally takes a few months to go through all the steps, Miller says.
They are also accepting applications for a new fourplex in Castlegar.
“We’re excited to start chatting with local families and hopefully getting some families selected for the Castlegar and Grand Forks units,” Miller says.
The link to apply is here.