Northwest Michigan Habitat Prepares for Open Enrollment
January 3, 2020 - Petoskey, MI — Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity is seeking Programs Partners for home builds that are scheduled in Pellston and Oden during the 2020-2021 season. The local non-profit will be accepting applications during the month of February for their homeownership programs. The Habitat Open Enrollment period typically takes place twice a year in February and August and allows for residents to apply for Habitat’s Homeownership Programs. To apply residents must live or work in Emmet and Charlevoix counties.
Julia Johnson, the Program Services Coordinator, works with Habitat’s Program Partners during the application process, the home builds, and guides them through the mortgage process. “When we partner with families and individuals in our housing programs, we not only help them build a new home, we help them develop the skills they need to become successful homeowners” says Johnson. Habitat Program Partners are selected based on several qualifications. They must demonstrate a level of need, meaning that they are in a home or rental that is too small, unsafe, or unaffordable. They must have the ability to pay an affordable mortgage, and be willing to partner with Habitat through education courses in financial management, budgeting, and home maintenance. They must also perform “sweat equity” or volunteer hours in partnership with Habitat. "We still are fighting the notion that we are building these houses and giving them away to people, but that is simply not the case” says Johnson. “Our program is designed for those who can afford a mortgage but are unable to get one through conventional means for reasons like bad credit or the inability to save up a large down payment. At the end of our program, partners are left with a new, highly energy efficient home and a low to zero-interest mortgage, allowing them to have a home that is both safe and affordable. They also have a sense of pride in their home, and in their community, which came together to help them achieve this goal.”
Habitat also offers a Home Repair Program, which accepts applications year-round for those who own a home in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties. Applications for all of the Habitat Programs can be found online at www.northwestmihabitat.org or by calling the NWM Habitat offices at 231-348-6926.