Minimum Requirements

  • Potential applicants must be the parent or legal guardian of at least one child 16 or under at the time of application.
  • All household members moving into Habitat homes must be Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents.
  • At least one applicant or co-applicant(s) must be employed full-time or full-time-equivalent, meaning multiple part-time jobs
  • At least one applicant or co-applicant(s) must have at least 3 years of employment history in Canada.
  • Applicant and co-applicant(s) must be first-time homebuyers currently living in rental housing.
  • Applicant and co-applicant(s) cannot afford to purchase a home through the conventional market.
  • No recent bankruptcies (must have been discharged three or more years ago), and no recent consumer proposals (must have been discharged at least 2 years ago).

Families need to demonstrate their ability to pay an affordable mortgage and sound financial management, including:

• Stable employment income

• Responsible debt management

• Fair or better credit report on Equifax Credit report

  • Primary source of income for the family must be employment income. Supplemental sources of income (Child Tax Benefit, Employment Insurance, Child Support, etc.), may or may not be included and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • The family’s Gross Household Income must be sufficient to cover the cost of homeownership for the specific project
  • Applicants and co-applicants will be asked to submit several documents to support financial status, including but not limited to current employment proof, debt statements, a current credit report and asset statements.

Families approved for Habitat Homeownership receive support to purchase a home. Our program makes homes affordable by requiring no down payment and by using a two-mortgage model:

  • The first mortgage is secured with a conventional external lender and is provided at market interest rates. The applicant family would apply for a mortgage through one of Habitat GTA’s lending partners, with the support of Habitat GTA staff.
  • The second mortgage is provided by Habitat GTA and covers the difference between the purchase price of the home and the first mortgage. No payments are made on this mortgage while the first mortgage is being paid.

While no downpayment is required, applicant families do need to show enough cash to cover closing costs such as legal fees and land transfer taxes.

  • Families approved for the Habitat GTA Homeownership Program enter into a shared equity agreement, meaning families and Habitat GTA share the home’s increase in value, or appreciation.
  • When families make their mortgage payments on their first mortgage they are building their equity by paying down their mortgage amount.
  • Families also build equity by earning appreciation (growth in value) on their share (first mortgage). Earning 2% gain, that is compounded annually, on the total value of your first mortgage (regardless of what you have paid off).
  • This enables families to build wealth by simply making their affordable monthly housing payments.

In addition to the minimum requirements, families are also considered for a Habitat home if:

  • They are unable to afford decent housing through other conventional means.
  • Current living conditions are overcrowded, unsafe or unhealthy (e.g. inadequate structure, unsafe wiring, heating, air quality, water, poor sanitation, etc.)
  • Current housing costs are too high (e.g. basic shelter costs are more than 32% of total family income.)

Each family approved for Habitat homeownership becomes a partner in our work. Habitat families are our greatest ambassadors, and as such are asked to help with a variety of initiatives that advance our mission.

Each selected family will be asked to fulfill the following partnership requirements:

  • Be an ambassador for Habitat for Humanity GTA and represent the mission – this involves (1) understanding and agreeing with our model, (2) speaking about your experience with Habitat for Humanity GTA at events, in media interviews or in videos to help promote our organization’s work to the public.
  • Contribute 500 volunteer hours toward the construction of homes or a variety of other Habitat projects and initiatives.
  • Commit to a homeownership and mortgage agreement with Habitat for Humanity GTA.
  • Attend homeowner education training and workshops.
  • Participation in Habitat GTA’s Social Impact Study.

Step 1: Complete Eligibility Form

Interested families are encouraged to fill out our Eligibility Questionnaire. Full honesty is required. Any misinformation or dishonesty will lead to automatic disqualification and you will not be allowed to re-apply to our program for one year.

Step 2: Watch the online information session

If you meet our basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent a link to video that will cover important information about Habitat for Humanity GTA, our Homeownership program and how our mortgage model works.

  • Watch all chapters of the information session video and re-watch any chapter that are confusing. Ensure you understand how the Habitat for Humanity GTA Homeownship model works and how it is different than conventional homeownership.
  • If, after watching the video, you have questions that have not been answered, send us an email at the email address provided in the video.

Step 3: Fill out and submit online Application Form

  • Use the document list provided to gather all the required supporting documents before you start filling out the application.
  • All supporting documents will need to be in PDF, JPEG or HEIC format to upload to your application.
  • Many of these documents are mandatory, so you will only be able to complete your application and submit once all required documents are uploaded.
  • Application forms will only be reviewed once all required documentation is attached/uploaded to your application.
  • We require full honesty and transparency. Any dishonesty, misleading or intentionally missing information will lead to immediate disqualification and you will not be allowed to re-apply for a period of 1 year.

Step 4: Await Response

  • You will receive an automatic confirmation email that your application has been received. The review process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months as we do an extensive multi-step review of applications that are a good fit for our program.
  • You will be asked to pay a non-refundable $250 application fee if your application passes early review. This $250 will be applied to the purchase of a Habitat home.
  • We may be in touch with question about your application or to set up a virtual meeting.

The HomeStart Program helps couples and individuals with the opportunity to get a home of their own, a home that allows them to live affordably, build savings and be a part of a thriving neighborhood connected to the best Toronto has to offer.