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FAQ

Here you’ll find answers to the most common Habitat homeowner questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email familyservices@habitatgo.com for more information. 

Local Ottawa families in need of affordable housing who meet Habitat Greater Ottawa’s eligibility criteria may apply online by submitting a complete Homeownership Application Form.  The application asks for information on the family, current housing conditions, financial and employment history and willingness to partner with Habitat.

Applications are screened for eligibility based on three basic criteria:

  1. Ability to make affordable monthly payments;
  2. Degree of housing need (e.g. living in unaffordable, overcrowded, unhealthy, inaccessible or unsafe housing);
  3. Willingness to contribute volunteer hours and partner with Habitat Greater Ottawa.

Families must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for a Habitat home:

  1. Total family household income (before taxes) between $47,871 and $75,130 (25th – 40th income percentile in Ottawa);
  2. Children under the age of 18 at the time of move in;
  3. Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;
  4. Living somewhere that does not meet the family’s needs;
  5. Steadily employed; and
  6. Able and willing to contribute 500 volunteer hours (350 for single-parent families) on the build site or with other Habitat projects and community activities.

The application process is thorough, and screening can take between three to four months. Applications are accepted online only at certain times throughout the year, as homes become available. Selected families are typically chosen 12 to 18 months in advance of their home being built to allow enough time to complete the required volunteer hours. To stay up to date on our future build and application timelines, click here to sign up for the HabiChat e-Newsletter.

Habitat Greater Ottawa requires each two-parent family to commit 500 volunteer hours. Single-parent families need to complete 350 hours. There is no financial compensation for these volunteer hours. Volunteer hours accumulate once the family has officially been selected to join the Habitat Affordable Homeownership Program.

Examples of how to accumulate volunteer hours include: working on the Habitat build site to construct one’s own home or the homes of others; participating in Habitat media campaign and fundraising events; office work; volunteering in our ReStores; attending homeowner training workshops as well as local community volunteerism. Children can contribute to volunteer hours such as through school grades and activities.

Up to five additional family members other than those who will be residing in the home and/or friends can also contribute to the required hours. Selected families are matched with community volunteers from the Family Partnering Committee which supports families to complete the volunteer hours and homeownership training.

  • Habitat build site activities as assigned by the Construction Manager
  • Habitat Home Education Courses (count as double hours)
  • Pre-approved home improvement classes at Home Depot/Reno Depot or equivalent (count as double hours)
  • With the approval of the Habitat Family Services Manager and the Family Partner, a maximum of 50 required volunteer hours can be fulfilled through volunteerism with another community organization
  • A maximum of 50 volunteer hours can be contributed through school credits from both adults and children
  • Habitat Restore volunteer hours may be used
  • Administrative work as needed at the Habitat Greater Ottawa office
  • Speaking engagements and media interviews, including Groundbreaking and Dedication ceremonies

Habitat Greater Ottawa does not give away free homes. Our traditional Homeownership Program allows families to purchase their home at fair market value with no down payment and pay an interest free mortgage geared to no more than 30% of household income. Habitat Greater Ottawa reviews household income annually and will adjust payments accordingly. Once families receive title to the home they are responsible for the ongoing maintenance, insurance and payment of utilities for the home as well as related condo fees if applicable.

We are currently completing a 16 townhome development at Leacross Landing in Orleans. All units for that project will be occupied as of spring 2020.

Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa will break ground on its next build at Wateridge Village in the spring of 2020. It is an 8-unit stacked townhome centrally located on the former Canadian Forces Rockliffe Airbase, in a growing neighbourhood close to amenities.

Wateridge Village Project Profile:

  • Located at 455 Wanaki Road
  • New development centrally located near transit, amenities and waterfront
  • Construction slated for spring 2020; move-in spring 2021
  • 8 stacked townhomes in two adjacent buildings
  • Two accessible barrier-free 3-bedroom units on ground floor
  • 4-bedroom units are split level two-story
  • Stacked townhomes do not include basements or private yards
  • Shared outdoor space and outdoor parking provided

Wateridge Village will follow our Pathways to Homeownership Program. It is a ‘rent-to-own’ model that will convert to homeownership after a twenty-year period. The land for Wateridge Village was acquired under the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI), a funding stream of the Federal Government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy that makes surplus federal properties available to the not-for-profit sector for projects that help to increase the availability of affordable housing. Under the terms of the SFRPHI program, Habitat Greater Ottawa must maintain ownership of the property for a defined period, setting the requirements for the Pathways to Homeownership Program.

Click here to find out more about our Wateridge Village Development. 

Habitat Greater Ottawa looks at total household income. Homeowners must disclose all income of all family members.

Habitat’s mandate is to help families, and at least one child must be 18 years of age or under at the time of move in. Habitat Greater Ottawa believes that every child deserves a stable start in a safe and secure home.

We have a basic house design that can be tailored according lot size and family size. We adhere to a specific design to ensure that construction is “volunteer friendly”, cost effective, and keeping within Habitat’s guidelines.

Habitat Greater Ottawa typically builds three and four-bedroom homes, but we sometimes tailor house plans to meet specific family situations.

Yes, we will take into consideration special needs and build to reflect those needs.

Our townhomes do include a basement, assuming the location, the type of home and if building codes permit a basement. Habitat’s stacked townhomes will not include a basement or individual yards, but rather communal space.

Additions to the house can be built by the homeowner, but only with the permission of Habitat Greater Ottawa and with the necessary approvals and City of Ottawa building permits. Construction must be completed by a qualified contractor.

Habitat Greater Ottawa has first right of refusal on the home and, in most cases, will in turn sell that home to another family in need. Depending on the length of time in the home, the homeowner will be entitled to some or all equity accumulated in the home, according to Habitat Greater Ottawa’s Buy Back Policy.

Yes, when the mortgage has been paid in full. The home may be left in a will just like any other homeowner.

This depends on the timing of the bankruptcy and when the applicant submitted their application with Habitat Greater Ottawa. Each condition will be assessed fairly and the circumstances for bankruptcy will be reviewed.

Signed statements from a landlord, bank, hydro and other organizations that are dealt with on an ongoing basis can be good sources of credit history in the absence of a formal credit history.

To date, Habitat Greater Ottawa mortgages have not been reported to the Credit Bureau.