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Does West Orange Habitat for Humanity give houses away?

Through Shelter We Empower – we’re a hand up and not a handout, so we work with qualified homeowner partners that agree to repay a no-interest affordable mortgage. Habitat for Humanity changes the lives of homeowners for generations to come. In addition to no-interest monthly mortgage payments, partners agree to invest hours of their own labor (Sweat Equity), attend financial literacy classes, and save for a small down payment.


What is Sweat Equity?

Sweat Equity is time homeowner partners invest as part of our partnership together. Typically, single homeowners invest 200 hours and a 2-adult household invests 400 hours. Sweat Equity hours can be earned through building on our build sites, working in the ReStore, participating in fundraising activities, public speaking, and attending financial literacy classes. Children can also participate with hours earned for school achievements.


How do I know if I qualify?

Basic qualifications are listed here including need for housing, salary minimums and maximums, and other information.

How do I get an application to apply?

Provide your information including your name, phone, address and email by clicking this link and scrolling down to fill out the pre-qualitifcation form.

This will allow us to notify you with next steps.

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How long does the homeownership process take?

Generally, an approved applicant will be on a journey to homeownership for 8 months after approval. Other factors may result in a slightly longer or shorter timeframe. Each homeowner is partnered with a mentor who is available to work with you as a homeowner partner to help you along your journey!

What kind of credit score is needed to qualify for a home?

West Orange Habitat will pull a credit report to assess your debt and payment history and also to determine your debt load and ability to assume a mortgage. You cannot have more than $2000 in collections, not counting medical debt. Credit scores must be at least a 620. Bankruptcies must be discharged at least 2 years before applying. We work with homeowner partners to help in any way including referral to a credit counselor to help raise or repair your credit score.


Does Habitat for Humanity build homes on an equal opportunity basis?

Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people in need without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, disability, marital status, age, ancestry, sexual orientation, source of income, or other characteristics protected by law. 

Three criteria drive the homeowner selection process: 

Housing need, willingness to partner with Habitat, and the ability to make the required mortgage payments.

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