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Top 10 FAQS from interested Habitat homeowners

1. How do I get a Habitat homeowner application form?

The first step in the process of becoming a Habitat homeowner is to fill out an eligibility questionnaire. It should only take you a minute to complete. This will be used to determine if you meet our basic requirements for a current Habitat for Humanity GTA project.

Please review the basic program requirements before filling out the short questionnaire. Submissions will be reviewed based on current availability only. Requirements may differ from one project to the next based on location, type of building, size of units, etc.

Based on your filled out questionnaire, you will receive an email indicating either if you are eligible for next steps or that you did not qualify. We will then invite you to come in for an Information Session at our 155 Bermondsey offices where you will learn more about our Homeownership Program and everything it entails.


2. What is the Habitat homeowner application process?

• Based on your response to the eligibility questionnaire, if you meet our minimum requirements, you will receive a link by email to fill in a second questionnaire, which is a longer form.

• Based on the responses provided in the second questionnaire, you will receive an email within 2-4 weeks stating if you are eligible or not for one of our current projects. If eligible, you will receive an invitation to an Information Session.

• At the Information Session, families receive full details about Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Homeownership Program, the mortgage model, units available and receive the application form.

• Families can then take home the application form to complete it. We usually ask that applications are returned within 1- 2 weeks.

• Once we receive your application form, the review process takes anywhere between 1-3 months, including a home visit. Our process can only be initiated online.


3. Why didn’t I qualify/meet the requirements?

There could be a number of reasons why a family does not meet our requirements. Please remember to review our eligibility criteria to learn about the minimum requirements before filling out the eligibility questionnaire.

• It is possible that the area you applied for does not have any current projects available or matches your family information.

• It is possible that your debt to income ratio is too high, or income is above or below the bands set for each project.

• It is possible that your family size is smaller or larger than the unit size available.

• It is possible that the number of years of work experience in Canada is less than 2-3 years.

• Our Homeownership Program is only available for families with children 16 years or under.


4. Can I apply to Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Homeownership Program in person?

Unfortunately we do not have the resources at our facility to have in person registration or submissions. Our process can only be started online. If you don’t have access to internet or a computer at home, please visit a public library or a community/employment centre near you.


5. How long does the process take… When are Habitat homes ready and/or available after being approved?

The average process time from completing the eligibility questionnaire to having the application approved by Habitat for Humanity GTA takes approximately 1-3 months. Please note, this time frame is not the same as the period from approval to the occupancy date for an approved home. The period before occupancy can vary from between 3-24 months after being approved, depending on the specifics of the project.


6. Is Ontario Disability Support Program, Employment Insurance, Long Term Disability, Ontario Works benefits count as income to apply?

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP):
• Not accepted if it is your only source of income.
• Accepted with discretion as a supplement to income.

Long Term Disability (LTD):
• Not accepted if it is your only source of income.
• Accepted with discretion as a supplement to income.

Employment Insurance (EI):
• Not accepted if it is your only source of income.
• Accepted with discretion as a supplement to income. It will be used only if there is evidence that the applicant has had regular employment over a three-year period, and EI was only collected between seasonal employment periods (eg. substitute teachers).

Ontario Works (OW):
• Not accepted on its own
• In situations where OW serves as a top-up to regular employment, staff may require additional proof to calculate expected income.


7. What is household income? What is the minimum household income requirement?

Household income is the combined gross income of all members of a household who are 15 years or older.

Here is an example of household income. Please note that this is not a real example.

• Pierre earns $30,000 per annum from his job as a finance professional.

• His wife Catherine earns $20,000 as an analyst.

• Pierre’s brother Jean also lives with them, and he earns $15,000 as a salary from his job.

• Pierre and Catherine have two children and receive $10,000 in Child Tax benefits (CCB) per annum.

• This brings their total household income to $75,000.

The minimum and maximum household income vary for each Habitat for Humanity GTA project based on unit size, area, market value price of the unit and other such factors. We calculate the minimum income requirement based on the mortgage required for the value of the house and to ensure the family can afford the mortgage. We always aim to set our families up for success!


8. Can I apply for Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Homeownership Program if I am on parental leave?

Yes, you can apply if you are on paternity or maternity leave. But your household income will be based accordingly. If the return date is within six months of the letter being issued, then we will use 100% of the stated salary on the application. If the return date is not within six months of the letter, then we can only use 60% of the stated salary.


9. What is equity sharing?

A shared equity model is an attractive option for homebuyers as it allows housing providers like Habitat for Humanity GTA to help families with a portion of their mortgage (shared mortgage). Thus giving families a hand-up to be able to afford and purchase a home that would otherwise not be possible.

The more you pay off towards your mortgage, the more equity you gain in the house and the less Habitat for Humanity GTA’s equity share becomes. Equity sharing does not mean that Habitat shares the home title with you. The home title is in your name.

How our mortgage model works at a glance:

Getting in the door…
• Your family purchases the home at fair market value.
• Family size and configuration is taken into account.
• Approved families undertake 500 volunteer hours of sweat equity as part of their partnership.

Staying in your home…
• Habitat helps keep payments affordable at approx. 32% of your household income.
• We support you throughout ownership.

Long term affordability…
• Habitat for Humanity GTA will buy your home back when you are ready to sell and help another family just like yours!


10. Can I re-apply for Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Homeownership Program if I didn’t qualify previously? If so, how?

If you were informed as not eligible/not qualified at the online questionnaire stage (first or second form), you may fill in the online questionnaire again when your family information submitted changes or if it has been over 12 months since you submitted your previous questionnaire.

If you were informed that you are not qualified after you submitted your application form (i.e. after attending the Information Session), based on the reasons you were not qualified, you may contact us at families@habitatgta.ca, to inform us about any changes in the original application that you submitted after six months. Beyond that time frame, you may submit the online questionnaire again to check eligibility for new projects.

We hope this article is helpful! Please visit our Homeownership page to learn more about our Program and start your application process.

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