When selecting potential partner families, affiliates consider an applicant’s:
- Level of need
- Willingness to become partners in the program
- Ability to repay the no down-payment, interest-free mortgage that is geared to income
The need for affordable housing is defined by a family income that is below the government-set low-income cut-off (poverty line). Living conditions that are inadequate in terms of structure, cost, safety or size are considered as well as the ratio of shelter expense to total income.
The ability to repay a Habitat mortgage requires that the family has a stable income that is sufficient to cover monthly mortgage payments, set at 25% of gross income (this includes principal repayment and property tax. At the discretion of the affilite, homeowner insurance may be collected as well, in which case payments would not exceed 30% of gross household income).
Homeowners must demonstrate a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity by contributing 500 hours of volunteer labour, or "sweat equity”, towards the building of their home.