Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa has been helping families gain strength, stability and self-reliance for nearly 25 years, but from time to time we still need to clear up some confusion around our homeownership program. Today, we’re going to dispel some of the common myths around owning a Habitat Home.
Myth #1: We give away free homes
If you think Habitat gives away homes – think again! Habitat families pay a mortgage just like other homeowners. What makes Habitat unique is that each family pays an affordable, interest-free mortgage based on total household income. By paying a geared-to-income, affordable mortgage, Habitat families are able to stop living paycheque to paycheque and start building up their savings and equity.
Myth #2: Habitat homeowners were previously homeless or are on Government Assistance
Our goal is to help local families break the cycle of poverty through affordable homeownership. In order to make sure families are successful in all aspects of owning a home, they must meet a strict set of criteria before applying to our homeownership program.
Potential families must:
- Be steadily employed in the Greater Ottawa area
- Have dependent children
- Have a total family income (before taxes) between $46,933 and $69,542;
- Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;
- Be living somewhere that doesn’t meet their family’s needs
Click here for the full list of criteria and to find out more about the Habitat GO homeownership process.
Myth #3: Habitat homes bring down the property values of the neighbourhood
Housing studies show that affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighbourhood property values. Habitat for Humanity believes that its approach to affordable housing can improve communities by strengthening community spirit, adding to local businesses and building better citizens through our volunteer opportunities and corporate team build days.
Myth #4: Families don’t need to participate in Habitat activities.
Families accepted into our Homeownership program must be willing and able to complete 500 volunteer hours before moving into their home. A portion of the volunteer hours are on site, where they help build their future home. Habitat families have also volunteered in our ReStores and for community events. Many of our families have such great experiences working alongside other Habitat volunteers and staff that some even stick around to help us out even after they receive the keys to their home!
Myth #5: Since Habitat homes are so affordable, families can flip them for easy profit
Habitat has a very comprehensive system in place to prevent house flipping for profit. In order for us to serve as many eligible families as possible, Habitat retains first right of refusal when a family decides to move out of their home. We are then able to offer the home to another family in our Habitat Homeownership Program.