HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Houston Habitat for Humanity, reacting to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, has relaxed its requirement that applicants be first-time homebuyers.
“With $125 billion in damage, 88 lives lost, 12,700 homes destroyed and 130,000 in need of repair, Houstonians continue to face a long road to recovery as the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey nears,” the organization said.
“Houston Habitat for Humanity is giving a hand up to Harvey-impacted residents by changing its policy so more Houstonians can qualify for its program. The Houston Habitat board recently voted to waive the requirement that applicants be first-time homebuyers through 2019.
“On top of a mounting affordable housing crisis, thousands of Houston-area residents still don’t have a place to call home or are faced with lengthy, expensive home repairs,” said HHFH Executive Director Allison Hay. “Through our ongoing recovery efforts, we see Harvey’s destruction and continued devastation every day. Now, more than ever, our program is essential to provide our neighbors with the safe, affordable housing they need.”
In late August 2017, Harvey remained in the Houston area for days, dumping as much as 50 inches of rain on some parts of the city.
Houston was one of the most severe metropolitan areas in the country before the hurricane when it came to affordable housing shortages. The affordable housing crisis, a result of stagnant incomes and rising housing prices, has worsened in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“As we continue to rebuild and revitalize, it’s apparent there’s work left to be done to help Houston communities recover from Hurricane Harvey,” said HHFH Board Chair Sherman Lewis. “Our moral responsibility as an organization is to do everything we can to empower Houstonians to build homes, communities and hope.”
The requirements applicants must meet to qualify for a HHFH home include the following:
Applicant was economically impacted by Hurricane Harvey (i.e., home or car damage, loss of job, etc.).
Applicant must earn 50-80% of the area median income for Houston, Texas, as determined by United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).
Applicant family agrees to perform up to 250 hours of “sweat equity,” including home financial counseling, home management, maintenance training and helping build their home.
Applicant must have the ability to make their monthly mortgage payments and have a satisfactory credit score.