COVID-19 has brought delays and changes to many events in our area, and it has had a major impact on the efforts of non-profit groups like Habitat for Humanity. According to their Summer 2020 newsletter, “our Homeownership Program has seen a 300% increase in applications compared to last year”.
The 2020 Habitat for Humanity Blitz build was originally scheduled for June in the West Central area, but was moved to Deer Park’s Hope Meadows in August. Normally hosting 30 volunteers per shift during these Blitz Builds, Habitat for Humanity Spokane was limited to 12 volunteers per shift with some aspects (training/check-in) being moved to a virtual or drive-through effort. In addition to volunteer changes, their fundraising efforts were impacted as well. The annual “Over the Edge” event had to be rescheduled twice. Despite these delays, they were still able to raise over $55,000 to help local families find affordable housing.
Partnering with Habitat for Humanity
As this year of uncertainty drags along, more families are finding themselves in need of safe, affordable housing. If you or a loved one is in this situation, you are encouraged to visit the Habitat for Humanity website and apply to see if you qualify. While there you can also view the video containing their virtual homeownership information meeting.
According to the informational video, there are four basic requirements that applicants must meet to become enrolled in the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership program:
- The ability to pay
- A willingness to partner with Habitat
- Have lived or worked in Spokane County for the last six consecutive months
In all, they state that the process can take 12-24 months, and includes the following steps:
- 250 “Sweat Equity” hours earned through volunteer service within the Habitat program
- Saving money towards the closing costs
- Attending homeownership training and classes
- Begin working on a budget and debt repayment plan
- Regularly submitting income verification documents
- Receiving a land assignment
- Completing final classes
- Completing a loan process through a third-party lender
- Dedicating your home
- Closing on your home and receiving your keys
- Finally, you get to move in!
One fun aspect of the “Sweat Equity” volunteer hours is that participants get to take part in the construction of their own home. This entire process is initiated when Habitat for Humanity Spokane receives the individual application and begins the need assessment period. Even if you are not sure that you completely qualify, Habitat for Humanity stresses the need to apply so that they can assist you further or offer guidance. This homeownership program is made possible through community support and partnerships with local businesses. If you are interested in helping their efforts within your community, please consider donating or volunteering. You can find more information on their website habitat-spokane.org.