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Individuals and families who are interested in applying for the Habitat program must meet a number of requirements, which fall into three categories - NEED, PARTNER and PAY.

Demonstrate NEED

Families applying to the Habitat program must currently have a need for decent, affordable housing.

  • Substandard Conditions
    (structural problems, mold, pests, etc)
  • Overcrowding
    (too many people in one bedroom, using non-bedrooms as bedrooms)
  • Homelessness
    (living with friends, relatives, coworkers, etc)
  • Cost-Burden
    (spending more than 30% of income on rent)

Be willing to PARTNER

  • Perform 350 hours of “sweat equity” by working on their house and other Habitat houses, at the Habitat ReStore and at other area nonprofits. Children can even earn sweat equity hours to help their parents by getting good grades on their report card! Only 30 percent of hours can be “donated” by family and friends.
  • Make a 2 percent down payment — at least $1,000 (can be paid in increments)
  • Build a $1,000 emergency fund
  • Complete the multi-week Habitat Institute Homebuyer Education Course
  • Meet quarterly for one year after move-in with Habitat’s Family Services staff to discuss their adjustment to homeownership
  • Maintain or decrease your “debt-to-income” ratio while in the Habitat program

Be Willing and Able to PAY

Families must have stable, verifiable income sufficient to support a monthly mortgage payment and other expenses and must meet the income guidelines listed below. Habitat serves families earning less than 80% of area median income for Shelby County. Income guidelines are set by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. Having income within these guidelines does not guarantee eligibility.

Family Size Gross Yearly Income 
 1 $18,000 - $35,950
 2 $19,800 - $41,000
 3 $21,600 - $46,250
 4 $23,400 - $51,350
 5 $24,850 - $55,500
 6 $26,300 - $59,600
 7 $27,750 - $63,700
 8 $29,200 - $67,800

Other Qualifications

  • Be a first-time home buyer, meaning they have never owned a home or haven't owned a home in the past three years
  • Have not had a home in foreclosure in the past four years
  • Be unable to qualify for a conventional loan due to income level
  • Be able to prove ability to afford the monthly payment and household expenses
  • Have fair or passable credit and no judgments or liens
  • Have not declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the past 12 months or Chapter 7 in the past two years
  • Must have re-established credit from any previously declared bankruptcies

Homeowner Orientation Sessions

All applicants must attend a homeownership program orientation session to begin the application process. (Child care services are not available.) Click HERE for a list of our upcoming orientation sessions.

To learn how to apply for the Habitat program, click "How to Apply" below to learn about the two ways you can apply for the program.



Contact our homeowner information hotline at 901.322.3512 for information on upcoming orientations.