Home. It’s more than a place—it’s the feeling of being somewhere you belong. If where you live doesn’t feel like home, maybe we can help.
Habitat for Humanity is in the business of providing simple, decent, and affordable housing so families can experience the dream of owning their own home. If you are selected as one of our partner families, we will work alongside you and others who want you to succeed.
How The Program Works
Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent homes with the help of Habitat partner families, local volunteers and the financial and material donations of our supporters. Habitat homes are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable, no-interest loans.
Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners are required to put in a minimum of 400-600 hours of sweat equity toward the building of their own home.
The Cost of a Habitat Home
The cost of homes varies depending on the size and type but in general, the current estimated cost is $100,000. Habitat homes are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest charged on the mortgage. Mortgage length varies from 20 to 30 years.
The money to build a home is raised through the generous contributions of individuals, churches and faith groups, businesses and organizations. This money combined with generous “in-kind” donations, the time of hundreds of volunteers and the “sweat equity” of the homeowner enables Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs to help bring decent, affordable housing to families in need and to help build a stronger community.
Become a Homeowner
Our family selection committee chooses homeowners based on the family’s level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection based on fair housing and lending practices.
If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing, please fill out our online form. We will contact you, get you an application and set up a meeting.
The Application Process
Do not assume that you don’t qualify!
Many people wrongly assume that they will not qualify for a Habitat home. We encourage you to fill out the pre-qualification application, and we will let you know.
To apply for a Habitat home, a prospective homeowner must meet the following requirements:
- Attend a free informational meeting.
- Earn a household or family income no higher than 60% of the Pottawattamie County median income.*
- Be able to pay a $500 mortgage down payment if selected for the program.
- Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident alien status.
- Live in Pottawattamie County for 12 months prior to applying to the program.
- Provide three years positive and verifiable housing history.
- Banking and financial information.
- Submit an application.
- An informational background check is completed on all adult family members who will reside in the home.
* Income levels are set annually by U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.
We are here to help you every step along your way to homeownership. The application process goes like this:
- First, contact our offices. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 712-328-9476.
- Then you will complete a pre-qualification form.
- You will be notified of your application status from there.
- Once the application session is open our staff will contact you to set up an informational meeting and give you the full application.
- After meeting with our staff, you will complete your application and send it back to us. There is usually a back and forth process of getting all your information correctly entered on the application.
- Once your application is complete, there is a two-part approval process. First, the Family Selection Committee reviews and provisionally accepts qualifying applications. Qualifying applications then go to the board of directors for final approval. You will hear an answer back from us within 45 days of submitting your fully completed application.
- After applications have been approved, the timeline is different for everybody. On average it takes 18 months from submitting your application to celebrating your first family dinner in your own home. During the construction process, you will provide “sweat equity” toward your home purchase. You will also go through the Family Training Education program where you will learn the skills needed to maintain your new home long after you move in. We will provide support, training and guidance along the way—and volunteers who want to help you build your home!
If you want to begin the rewarding work toward owning a home of your own, please fill out the pre-qualification form. Our staff and volunteers are ready to partner with you to help you achieve your dream!
Family Training & Education
Throughout the home buying and building process, families are trained and equipped to become homeowners. Family training and education includes a mix of classroom learning and sweat equity.
All program participants are required to take a pre-homeownership class and financial and homeownership classes. These hours count toward sweat equity hours.
It’s not just a way to help “pay” for the house; through the process of working many hours with qualified experts on the worksite, families learn how to maintain and care for their own home after they’ve moved in.
Financial and Homeownership Classes
Families learn how to manage their household funds, and become knowledgeable about the principles credit, with the goal of becoming debt-free.
Additional Classes: The Family Selection Committee may request applicants to take additional classes or applicants may choose to take classes in exchange for sweat equity hours. The approved class list changes as new learning is available throughout the community. Possible classes include:
- STARS Scholarship Know How
- Financial Hope Classes
- Good Parenting
- Car Care
- Credit Advisors
- First Aid
- Scholarship Application and Successes
- How to Apply for Financial Aid
- Healthy Foods with Hy-Vee
- Lawn and Yard Care