Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

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Q&A

What is Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity?

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides and preserves affordable housing for hard-working, limited-income families. New homes are built by volunteers who donate their time, money and materials. Each completed home is then sold to a qualifying family at no profit and with no interest. Through our Critical Home Repair program, volunteers also help existing low-income homeowners restore their homes so they can continue to live in a safe, healthy, decent, and affordable home. Repairs completed by Critital Home Repair include adding weatherization, grab bars, and wheelchair ramps, and painting, landscaping, and other minor repairs.

What is the Habitat Renovation Station?

The Habitat Renovation Stations specialize in the sale of new, used and vintage building materials and supplies, offering items such as lumber, windows, doors, miscellaneous hardware, paint and wall papers, electrical and plumbing fixtures and supplies, ceramic tile and many other items. Two great locations serve the public in Oklahoma City - 1800 N. Broadway Avenue, and 2805 SW 29th Street. The Renovation Stations are open Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We are the Handyman’s Headquarters! Contractors, remodelers, handymen and women and curious shoppers can all find something they need. Profits from the Renovation Stations fund construction of new Habitat houses, from four to eight each year.

Is Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity associated with a larger organization?

Yes. Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, which was founded in 1976. Central Oklahoma Habitat is the largest of some 20 Habitat affiliates in Oklahoma, Tulsa being second largest. There are currently more than 2,100 active affiliates in 100 countries, including all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. See more on Habitat for Humanity International at http://www.habitat.org.

Central Oklahoma Habitat is currently ranked among the top 20 in the nation among Habitat affiliates in production of new homes.

How are Habitat families selected?

Prospective buyers of new Habitat homes must have a stable gross annual income of at least $19,000 a year, and must be willing and able to contribute 300 hours (sweat equity) volunteering in some capacity with Habitat. No down payment is charged. Applicants undergo an extensive screening process, including credit and criminal history checks. A family selection committee, composed of trained volunteers, selects potential Habitat homebuyers based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program, and their ability to repay the loan. Critical Home Repair applicants must fall within 150% of the federal poverty guideline, be the owner-occupants of their homes, and be willing to contribute 60 hours of volunteer sweat equity work on others’ homes prior to work on their own.

What type of support is offered to Habitat families?

In addition to building homes for limited-income families, Habitat offers a variety of support services for its homeowners. To assist prospective homeowners in making the transition from renting to home ownership, our board approved families attend a required three-part “Homeowners College,” prior to closing on their house. Topics covered by instruction during these classes include legalities of owning a home, homeowner insurance, property taxes, city code enforcement, household budgeting and home maintenance and repair, and lawn care. All prospective Habitat homebuyers also attend two required sessions at Consumer Credit Counseling Services for intensive budgeting training. Trained volunteers serve as support partners for each Habitat family to provide informational assistance and support throughout the home building and buying experience. This partnership is formed as soon as the family has been approved for a Habitat home purchase, and continues during construction and throughout the first year the family lives in their Habitat home.

Before a family moves into their new home, Habitat staff members conduct a walk-through audit of the finished home with the family to familiarize the new owners with the home’s systems and routine maintenance needs. Homeowners are given a comprehensive homeowner’s manual that was developed to offer additional informational support. Homeowners are also encouraged to participate in the homeowner associations in their new neighborhood.

 

What are the purchase terms of a Habitat house?

Upon completion of construction of the Habitat home and the family’s (sweat equity) hours, the property is deeded to the new homeowner under a zero-interest mortgage note. The term of the mortgage is driven by the house payment, which is based on income. Each family’s house payment is based on a percentage of their gross monthly household income at the time of closing. The average house payment is about $580 per month, which includes escrow deductions for property taxes, homeowners insurance, home maintenance, and where applicable, community association dues. Payments are often less than what homeowners were previously paying in rent to live in overcrowded, substandard conditions. All Habitat homeowners’ payments (principal) go to fund construction of more Habitat homes.

How is Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity funded?

Primary support is received from individuals, corporations, foundations, churches, and civic groups. Habitat secures its administrative costs through earned income. All cash contributions received go directly toward the construction of Habitat homes.  Central Oklahoma Habitat is not a United Way agency.

What is your foreclosure rate?

A basic part of the Habitat partnership is that homebuyers repay the cost of their homes, with no profit added and no interest charged. As they make their affordable monthly house payments based on income, their principal goes directly back into Habitat’s construction budget, recycling the original gifts that made their homes possible and building more homes for more deserving families. As with any other mortgage, in the rare event that a Habitat homeowner does not make his or her monthly payments, the mortgage is foreclosed. Central Oklahoma Habitat has a 3% foreclosure rate, lower than many banks and mortgage lenders. Habitat homeowners work hard to get into their homes, they appreciate the opportunity to purchase their homes at cost and at no interest, and they know that their house payments are helping more qualified families get into homes of their own.

How many houses have been built or renovated in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and where are they located?

The 518th Central Oklahoma Habitat home dedicated on May 9, 2009.

Our first area of concentration was Metro Park, a northwest OKC inner-city neighborhood where Central Oklahoma Habitat built its first homes. Some 50 new homes for owner-occupant families have helped to stabilize and revitalize this neighborhood of older homes and working class families. Some 15 homes in or near this area were renovated. All of our other homes have been newly constructed.

Other areas of concentration have included another 50 or so Habitat homes built in the Shidler-Wheeler neighborhood in southeast Oklahoma City, 14 in the Broadway Park Addition in north Oklahoma City, and 30 in the Eastridge Addition in north Midwest City. Many dozens more Habitat homes are scattered across all four quadrants of Oklahoma City, and our rebuilding efforts following the May 3,1999 tornados included 60 homes located in Mulhall, Moore (30), Midwest City (another 20), Choctaw, and Bridge Creek.

In 2004, we constructed our first home in Bethany, in 2005 our first in Guthrie, and in October 2006 we built our first home in Mustang!

Central Oklahoma Habitat constructed an entire neighborhood of 61 homes in the Douglas Meadows Addition in Spencer, our first Habitat-only neighborhood. Located at NE 45th and 46th Streets on the west side of Douglas Blvd., the Douglas Meadows Addition includes a lovely neighborhood park and is home to some 300 people.

In 2007, Central Oklahoma Habitat began building infrastructure in its first full development project - Hope Crossing. Hope Crossing is located on the west side of Kelley Avenue, one-half mile north of Wilshire Blvd. and will be home to 216 families when completely built out. Home construction began in February 2007 and should continue for several years, through 2012.

Central Oklahoma Habitat’s Brush with Kindness program began in late 2008 and is working toward a goal of completing weatherization and other repairs on its first 100 homes by the end of 2009.

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity has truly built homes all across the Oklahoma City metro, and looks forward to building in new communities that we are able to reach. As the city and county, as well as private individuals, donate properties to Habitat, we will continue to invest in and improve more neighborhoods in the Oklahoma City metro area.

 

What are Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s plans for the future?

Central Oklahoma Habitat depends greatly on funds raised privately in the community to build to our current capacity of 45-50 new homes per year. We fund day-to-day construction operations and about half of each year’s houses internally through our mortgage base and with income earned from the Habitat Renovation Stations. Income from Habitat’s Pick-up Service helps offset the cost of our administrative salaries, allowing every dollar of cash contributions received from donors to go toward funding houses. Habitat’s current five-year plan includes construction of at least 45 houses per year through 2013 and working our way up to partnering with at least 100 existing low-income homeowners each year through our Critical Home Repair program.

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