While it's obvious to many that Habitat is an organization built on serving "the least of these." Is it possible we may have lost our way as we shift from serving under-resourced families needing an affordable home to serving families looking to preserve their home?
Have we misapplied our hand up philosophy as we shift to serving families who didn't need our hand up program acquiring their home? Yet, now find themselves struggling to maintain their hard earned investment.
We have interviewed thousands of struggling families and vetted their financial circumstances as we have looked for partner families for A Brush with Kindness. Ninety percent of the time they are either under 30% of AMI or have housing expenses over 30% of their gross income or pay more than 50% of their gross income on household expenses. These are not families who have much in the way of disposable income.
However, to help give some objectivity to these compelling family stories, I have created a tool to assess a families ability to financially partner with Habitat. If a family does not meet the income percentages above, they will not be required to pay back our investment in their home unless the investment exceeds $3,000. Thereby, the family will be required to sign a 0% forgivable mortgage and note payable when the home is sold or refinanced. This finance tool protects our investment for a set period of time based on the value of the work completed.
Here is the link to my Cost Recovery Form.