Criteria for A Brush with Kindness Applicants

Homeowner Support for ABWK works in much the same way it does for other construction products.




Three basic family selection criteria are required for all families that a Habitat for Humanity Affiliate serves through repair, new construction or rehab.

  1. Need for adequate housing. HFHIC will take into consideration housing conditions that are physically inadequate, unsafe, overcrowded, expensive or any other applicable local factor. The need for repair is evaluated in the context of the HFHIC’s service area median income.  Additionally, a homeowner’s inability to obtain a conventional loan to pay for repair can be seen as an indicator of need. Circumstances that prevent the homeowner from doing the work themselves—such as disability, age or illness—is also an indicator of need. Furthermore, HFHIC may consider referrals from other housing programs or agencies as demonstration of need and discuss a policy that includes homeowners that simply lack the knowledge and ability to carry out general maintenance and repairs to their home.


  1. Ability to pay back the loan.  In serving homeowners for repair, HFHIC will  typically select homeowners with an annual income that is 30-60% of the area median income.  Using HUD income guidelines, low and very low income categories are the norm.  Adjustments can be made to serve lower-income 50+ applicants subject to the Affiliate’s repair payment. During the repair selection process, a Habitat will ensure that no family is debt-burdened by the payment required. For all families served, the total housing payment (including mortgage, repair note, escrow) should not be more than 30% of the homeowner’s monthly income. Payment for repair also dictates that a debt to income ratio allowing for a repair payment be established.


  1. Willingness to partner with the Habitat Affiliate. The most consistent way to measure a homeowner’s willingness to partner is through sweat equity. Sweat equity is a core tenet of Habitat’s ministry and is Habitat’s most valuable tool in building the partnership among families, affiliate staff and volunteers. Families have an opportunity through sweat equity to invest physically and emotionally in the mission of Habitat. Sweat equity is designed to meet three important goals:

1. Partnership.

2. Pride in homeownership.

3. Development of skills and knowledge.


Sweat Equity

For ABWK the number of sweat-equity hours is typically based on the scope of the project, with a minimum of eight required hours per adult over 18. It is strongly suggested that a portion of the required hours be completed before the work begins on the home.  All present, physically capable family members will take an active role in the work.

Sweat-equity guidelines for repair housing products is essential in understanding the obligations that the family is agreeing to when they are accepted into the program. HFHIC team leaders, construction staff and Executive Director will determine the required hours needed depending on the project. 

Additional Selection Criteria

  1. Policy 19 of the HFH Policy handbook also dictates that Affiliates include checking the sex offender database as part of the criteria for acceptance. HFHIC will not partner with a homeowner who has a registered sex offender living at the residence.
  2. HFHIC will not partner with a homeowner that has any convicted felons living at the residence.
  3. Repair application approved by HFHIC Family Services committee .
  4. Home assessment.  In new construction, the family selection process includes a home visit to verify need.  For repair, the visit will need to include a home assessment to determine the repair need. HFHIC has set limits to the repair work, the assessment and cost of the repair work or scope of the repair work may be a determining factor even when the other criteria are met by the homeowner. 

Communicating the Decision

HFHIC ABWK applicants will receive notice of a decision made via mail or email, whichever has been deemed the preferred method of contact for the applicant within 60 days of the time the application is received by our affiliate. Each Homeowner partner will sign a Homeowner agreement. Signing the agreement initiates the partnership for HFHIC. 

Office business hours

Tuesday - Friday09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
01:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Office may not be open during these hours as we attend meetings and work on site out of office occasionally. Please call ahead to ensure someone will be able to meet with you. This is office hours only, to view our ReSale Shop hours, please visit the ReSale Shop tab at the top of our webpage.




Habitat for Humanity of Ionia County

ph: 616-523-6899

fax: 616-523-6611

115 S. Depot St

Ionia, MI  48846



ph: 616-841-9202

113 S Depot St.

Ionia, MI 48846





Like Us on Facebook
Print Print | Sitemap
© Habitat For Humanity of Ionia County