The Habitat Model
At Habitat for Humanity, we do more than build houses. We partner with homebuyers, volunteers, donors, businesses and community organizations to transform lives and rebuild communities. Through Homebuyer Academy classes and their investment in sweat equity hours, homeowners learn the skills necessary to successfully own and maintain a home for the rest of their lives. These individual homeowners become part of a larger group that works to bring change and new life to communities. Through community planning and neighborhood engagement, Habitat Chesapeake encourages the growth of healthy communities throughout Central Maryland.
Habitat Chesapeake’s homeownership program is based on three specific criteria:
- Ability to pay
- Need for decent housing
- Willingness to partner
Houses are sold at an affordable rate with no-interest mortgages to qualified homebuyers who earn 25 to 60 percent of the area median income. By investing 250–350 volunteer “sweat equity” hours, future homeowners play an integral role in the building of Habitat homes. Homebuyers also are required to graduate from the Habitat Chesapeake Homebuyer Academy – a 50-hour course focused on financial literacy, home maintenance and community building.
But the work doesn’t stop there. The Habitat model works to transform the community as a whole. Public spaces and parks are included in our community development plans to provide neighbors a place to gather and enjoy their neighborhood. Throughout the neighborhood planning and construction phases, Habitat Chesapeake representatives work with neighborhood organizations to stay connected. Homeowners also are encouraged to engage with community organizations to continue to improve the neighborhood for years to come.
The need for affordable housing and better communities is real and the impact of this model is remarkable. With the investment in their home, homebuyers improve their financial standing and provide stability for their family. As a result, children perform better in school, families feel safer, and neighborhoods improve.