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Effingham Magazine

Habitat for Humanity Provides a Pathway to Home Ownership

Habitat for Humanity Provides a Pathway to Home Ownership


There’s a reason that there are so many quotes about home. There’s no place like home, home is where the heart is, home sweet home. It’s because having a place to call home is valuable.

Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County has provided a pathway to home ownership for 22 (soon to be 23) families through the efforts of volunteers and donors.

Brittney Roper and her two children were living with her mother when Brittney decided to apply for a Habitat home. She and her family were able to move into their Habitat home in Rincon in 2018.

“I’m thankful for Habitat being able to provide for our community for younger generations that are striving to have a home. It’s harder in today’s economy to actually be a homeowner, but with Habitat anything’s possible,” says Brittney.

A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

A Habitat home is not a handout, but a hand up for those who struggle to qualify for a traditional mortgage. Habitat homeowners are employed and must meet certain income criteria to qualify. They must also pay a 2% down payment and an affordable monthly mortgage payment.  

Families who are selected must partner with Habitat for Humanity to complete at least 250 hours of “sweat equity”—time spent volunteering on the build site or at the ReStore—and complete home ownership education.

An impact study conducted among Habitat homeowners in Georgia reported that 59% of homeowners have more money on hand since moving into their Habitat homes and nearly three-fourths of Habitat homeowners are able to save more money for the future. This financial security allows them to rely less on public assistance and the majority of families in Habitat homes receive no public assistance. Those who do receive assistance receive an average of less than $100 a month.

Homeowners also benefit from a sense of physical security. 77% percent of Habitat homeowners in Georgia report feeling safer in their new homes.

Lauren Alvarado, a Habitat homeowner in Rincon since 2017, spent several years moving between rental properties and struggled to find a place that was both safe and affordable for her and her two children. She applied for a home after her pastor encouraged her to take the chance.

“For someone to say ‘Hey, you don’t have to pack up and move again,’ you can’t put a price on that,” says Lauren. “It brings you a sense of relief and peace.”

Jimmy Rutland, President/CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County, encourages anyone who has the potential to qualify to apply.

“We want to help families achieve their goal of home ownership,” Jimmy says. “Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, apply anyway. You might be closer to your goal than you think.”


Applying for a Habitat home in Effingham County

Financial requirements to qualify for a Habitat home in Effingham County:

•          Maximum annual income:

o          Family of 1: $46,720

o          Family of 2: $53,440

o          Family of 3: $60,080

o          Family of 4: $66,720

o          Family of 5: $72,080

o          Family of 6: $77,440

•          Must have been employed full time for at least one year or part time for two years.

•          Must have less than $1000 in delinquent debt.

•          Credit score of 640 or higher.

•          Must have gross income that exceeds 30% of cost of Habitat mortgage payment and less than 43% of housing cost in total debt.

Once these financial requirements have been met, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

•          Living in an inadequate shelter due to problems with heating, water supply, electricity, etc.

•          Living in overcrowded conditions.

•          Spending more than 40% of income on housing (rent + utilities).

•          Residing in Section 8 or Public Housing.

•          Residence is not secured by an official lease agreement.