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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 home@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 completeApplication 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. The ability tomake affordable monthly payments towards the equity of the home;  
  2. A family’s willingness to contributevolunteer hours and partner with Habitat Greater Ottawa;  
  3. Degree of a family’shousing need. 

Full eligibility criteria includes:  

  1. Have a total family income (before taxes) between $47,871 and$75,130; 
  2. Have children under the age of 18; *Please see EXEMPTION
  3. Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;  
  4. Be living in housing that does not meet your family’s needs;  
  5. Be steadily employed, but unable to obtain a conventional mortgage; 
  6. Be a first-time homeowner; 
  7. Be able to contribute 500 volunteer hours (350 for single-parent families) to help build your own home and participate in other Habitat projects and community activities.

*EXEMPTION: When assessing applications for the accessible units under the Eligibility Criteria, child[ren] 18 years of age or older may be considered if they are a “dependent” and a “person[s] with disabilities”. 

“DEPENDENT” is considered to be a child, spouse, parent, or other relative to whom one contributes all or a major amount of necessary physical and/or financial support.   

“PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES” include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

The application process is thorough, and screening can take between three to six months. Applications are accepted year-round online. The Family Selection Committee, composed of community volunteers, review all applications and then make a recommendation to the Family Approvals Committee comprised of Board and staff. 

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. There are limits set on the number of hours family members can volunteer on any one activity so that volunteer hours are spread across various 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 Partnership Committee who support families to complete the volunteer hours and homeownership training. 

*Please note volunteer hours and activities are currently being adapted according to provincial and municipal health and safety regulations due to COVID-19. 

Habitat Greater Ottawa does not give away free homes. Our traditional Affordable Homeownership Program allows families to purchase their home at fair market value with no down payment. Monthly mortgage payments are geared to no more than 30 percent 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, taxes and payment of utilities for the home as well as related condo fees if applicable.  

Titus Landing Development 

Habitat Greater Ottawa broke ground on its most recent build, Titus Landing at Wateridge Village, in the late fall of 2020. Sponsored by Red Roof Foundation, the build is an 8-unit stacked townhome development centrally located on the former Canadian Forces Rockcliffe Airbase, in a growing neighbourhood close to amenities.  

Project Profile 

  • Located at 455 Wanaki Road 
  • New development centrally located near transit, amenities and waterfront 
  • Construction began spring 2020; move-in spring 2021 
  • 8 stacked townhomes in two adjacent buildings 
  • Accessible barrier-free 3-bedroom unit on ground floor  
  • 3-bedroom units occupy full second floor   
  • 4-bedroom units are split level two-story on third and fourth floors  
  • Stacked townhomes do not include basements or yards 
  • Shared outdoor space and outdoor parking provided 
  • The Titus Landing project will follow Habitat Greater Ottawa’s Pathways to Homeownership Program*  

Pathways to Homeownership Program 

The Titus Landing development at Wateridge Village will follow Habitat Greater Ottawa’s Pathways to HomeownershipProgram. It is a ‘rental with an option to purchase’ model that will convert to homeownership after twenty years. The purchase price of the home will reflect the fair market value of the home at the time of move-in, and the development will convert to a condo at the end of the twenty-year term. If the family remains in the home for twenty years, they will receive title to their home and the equity portion of their monthly payments will be applied to the purchase price of the home.   

Benefits of the Titus Landing Pathways Model 

  • The home’s purchase price will be determined at the time of move-in and the family will have the option to purchase the home at the end of the 20-year affordability period.  
  • There is no down payment required, removing a significant barrier to homeownership for many families.    
  • Affordable monthly mortgage payments will be set at 80 percent of Average Market Rent, and will not exceed 30 percent of gross household income. 
  • A portion of the monthly payment will go toward maintenance fees, a reserve fund, property taxes and insurance.   
  • The balance of monthly payments will be put toward the principal owing on the home.   
  • Expenses such as utilities, tenant insurance and other household needs are the responsibility of the family. 

 

North Grenville Development 

We will break ground on our next build in North Grenville, Ontario in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Thousand Islands in the spring of 2022. This 15-unit development consists of townhomes and stacked townhomes with accessible units available. The build is located in an established community near parks, schools, stores and the district hospital. Once complete, the project will be home up to 64 individuals including over 30 children.  

Project Profile 

  • Located on Concession Road across from the Kemptville District Hospital and near Kemptville Area Family Resource Centre, local schools, Riverside Park and other amenities  
  • 15-unit development comprising conventional townhomes and stacked townhomes as well as accessible barrier-free units on the ground floor  
  • Construction slated for spring 2022 with seven homes to be completed in 2022 and eight homes ready in 2023  
  • All homes will access either a private balcony or yard  
  • Parking available for all units  
  • All non-accessible units are 3 or 4-bedroom  
  • All accessible units are 2-bedroom 
  • The North Grenville project will follow our Blended Mortgage Model*  

Blended Mortgage Model 

Our Blended Mortgage Model will take effect for our North Grenville development.  Habitat families will purchase their home at fair market value through two affordable mortgages. The first is an interest-bearing mortgage that will come from a financial institution working in partnership with Habitat, with a second interest-free mortgage provided by Habitat. 

This new model will see improved, long-term benefits for families while ensuring Habitat for Humanity can continue to serve even more local families in a sustainable and effective manner.   

Benefits of the Blended Mortgage Model    

  • Families approved into our program partner with Habitat to purchase their home at fair-market value.  
  • Affordable monthly mortgage payments are capped at 30 percent of household income.   
  • There is no down payment required, removing a significant barrier to homeownership for many families.    
  • The model allows homeowners to build a formal credit history through a partial interest-bearing mortgage provided by a financial institution, making it easier for families to move onto market homeownership should they choose to.    
  • A partial interest-free mortgage held by Habitat ensures continued affordability for homeowners.  
  • Expenses such as utilities, property taxes, homeowner insurance and other household needs are the responsibility of the family.  

Habitat Greater Ottawa looks at total household income. Discretionary consideration may be given for non-taxable income such as child tax benefitssupport payments and disability pensions as examples, though on a discretionary basis. Homeowners must disclose all income of all family members 18 years of age and older.  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. 

When assessing applications for the accessible units under the Eligibility Criteria, child[ren] 18 years of age or older may be considered if they are a “dependent” and a “person[s] with disabilities”. 

“DEPENDENT” is considered to be a child, spouse, parent, or other relative to whom one contributes all or a major amount of necessary physical and/or financial support.   

“PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES” include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. 

We have a basic house design that adheres to local planning and building codes. We adhere to a specific design to ensure that construction is volunteer friendly, cost effective, and keeping within Habitat’s guidelines. Please review our Current Builds and Upcoming Builds pages for more information on specific build project profiles.  

Habitat Greater Ottawa typically builds three and fourbedroom homes. Our accessible homes are two or three-bedroomsIf you have specific housing needs, for example to meet you family’s accessibility needs, please speak to our Family Services team at home@habitatgo.com to ensure our homes are suitable for your family.  

Yes, we will take into consideration special needs and build to reflect those needs. Accessible housing can work for everyone, including those with physical disabilities. It also allows people to stay in their homes as their circumstances change, without expensive renovations. Habitat Greater Ottawa’s accessible units feature wider door frames, open turning spaces within rooms, easy-to grab handle levers and light switches, a wheel-in shower stall and kitchen work surfaces with knee space below and adjustable storage spaces above.  

Our accessible homes are two or three-bedrooms. If you require accessible housing to meet you family’s needs, please speak to our Family Services team at home@habitatgo.com to ensure our homes are suitable for your family. 

Our townhomes do include a basement, assuming the location, the type of home and if building codes permit a basement. Habitat’s stacked townhomes and accessible units do not always include a basement.  

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, and only once title has been transferred to the homeowner. Construction must be completed by a qualified contractor. 

Habitat Greater Ottawa retains all rights on the house should the homeowner wish to sell via its Buy Back Policy. Habitat Greater Ottawa has first right of refusal on the home and will in turn sell that home to another family in need of affordable housing. 

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

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 circumstance for bankruptcy will be reviewed, however more recent bankruptcy will require additional investigation. 

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.