What is Habitat’s mission?
Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We do this through working to fulfill our mission statement: “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, community and hope.”
How long has Habitat been around?
Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976. Pensacola Habitat was founded in 1981.
Where does Habitat build?
Habitat International builds in 90 countries around the world. Pensacola Habitat is just one of 1,500 affiliates in the United States. We build in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
How many families has Habitat supported?
Habitat has supported 800,000+ families around the world. Pensacola Habitat has supported over 1,000 local families with affordable housing, as well as over 100 families internationally through our Tithe program.
1. Up to 15 volunteers per day can help on construction worksites at a time. These volunteers help with framing, painting, and landscaping.
2. Up to 5 volunteers per shift can help the ReStore run each day. Volunteers assist customers, unload trucks, help to sort and price merchandise, etc.
3. Office Volunteers help with clerical work and special projects, as available.
4. Decisions that affect our local affiliate are made by our Board of Directors. The board is supported by Land, Finance, and Governance Committees. Our programs are also supported by Family Selection, Family Support, ReStore, and Community Engagement Committees.
5. Global Village Volunteers interested in serving internationally can join one of our Global Village trips.
How do I sign up to volunteer? Construction and ReStore volunteers can sign up online by clicking the “Volunteer Now” button on the Pensacola Habitat website. Any volunteers can sign up by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com or calling the office at (850) 434-5456.
How old do I have to be? Youth ages 14-17 can volunteer on a painting or landscaping worksite, or at the ReStore, as long as they have a waiver signed by a parent/guardian and work side-by-side with a chaperone. Youth 14-15 may work in the office under the same conditions. Youth ages 16-17 may work in the office with a signed waiver, but do not need a chaperone.
Do I have to have experience? No experience is needed! We’ll teach you anything you need to know for the day’s tasks.
When do volunteers work? Schedules vary by the type of work.
Construction: Tuesday-Saturday, 8am-3pm
ReStore: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-2pm or 2-6pm
Office: Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm
How big are Habitat houses? Pensacola Habitat builds 2, 3, and 4 bedroom homes, which are about 1,000 square feet, on average.
How long does it take to build a house? Each house takes approximately 12 weeks to complete. This is process is broken down into the following: 1.5 weeks of framing, 2.5 weeks of work done by subcontractors, 1 week of hanging sheetrock, 1 week to trim and paint, 2-3 weeks of work done by subcontractors, 1 week to schedule landscaping, plus a couple of weeks of buffer time to allow for scheduling.
Why do all of your houses look the same? In the past, Habitat has received criticism for the outside appearance of their homes. In recent years we have made significant changes to the exteriors, most notably changing the elevations of all homes, to give more curb appeal. Look for the addition of stone to the fronts of a few of our homes that will be revealed in the coming year.
Where do you build? Pensacola Habitat builds on individual lots throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, as well as in three subdivisions in Escambia County.
Do you have to build to certain codes for hurricanes? All building the state of Florida must be built to specified codes due to the high risk of hurricanes. Pensacola Habitat meets or exceeds all current standards. During Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Pensacola Habitat homes experienced some lost siding and/or shingles, but no homes experienced any structural wind damage. That’s a pretty good record!
Do you do repairs on existing homes? At this time Pensacola Habitat does not do repairs on owner-occupied homes. This is something we may explore in the future through the Neighborhood Revitalization. We do rehab most Habitat homes that come back to us. These homes are repaired, repainted, etc. and then resold to new partner families.
How can I donate my property to Habitat? Land must meet certain requirements in order for Habitat to successfully make use of the parcel, please contact the office if you are interested in donating land to Habitat.
Will Habitat build on my own land? Sometimes; this is evaluated on a case by case basis as each situation is unique.
What is your operating budget? Our FYE2014 operating budget was $6.8M. Because the program is self-sustaining, the homeowner’s monthly principal payments roll back into the budget to be used to build more homes!
How many homes are projected to be built this year? Our construction for FYE2014 was 65 homes. The number of homes built each year varies depending on the financial funding we can acquire. The most we’ve ever built in a single year was 225 in 2012.
Are all the materials and services in a Habitat home donated? Unfortunately, no. We must pay for a large portion of the materials/services that are required to build a home. We have a Procurement Department that does a great job of working with vendors and subcontractors to get the lowest price for the highest quality of goods and services. While we must pay for most items, we do have wonderful partnerships with several large vendors for standard items in a home. For example, Whirlpool donates all the kitchen appliances for each house. That alone is a $2,000 commitment per house.
What kinds of donations do you need? Monetary donations of any amount are always so helpful. We also have ongoing needs for many events and celebrations such as home dedications, special events and special build activities. These needs include breakfasts and lunches for volunteers as well as cakes and beverages for home dedication receptions. We also accept donations of items for the Restore and participate in Habitat for Humanity’s Cars for Homes program. All donations are tax deductible and are acknowledged with a receipt for tax purposes.
Where do the revenues come from? Donations come from individuals, churches, businesses and organizations. We also receive funding from various state agencies such as The Department of Economic Opportunity. A large portion of our revenue comes from mortgage collections – approximately $3M per year.
How can I make a donation? Call or e-mail Nancy Wolfe at (850)434-5456 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can make a donation online on our donation page. Checks can be mailed or dropped off at our offices: Pensacola Habitat for Humanity 300 West Leonard Street Pensacola FL 32501
How do the mortgages work? Our homeowners OWN the house. We sell the house for what it cost to build it with a regular mortgage. The GREAT thing about our mortgages are they are ZERO percent interest. The payments range between $450-600 per month, depending on the income of the homebuyer. That payment also includes the escrow portion of the mortgage.
Do the monthly payment amounts change? While the principal portion of the mortgage does not change over the life of the loan, the escrow portion of the mortgage can change each year. That portion of the payment depends on the expenses that were paid in that year and are expected for the next year.
What is escrow? Escrow is the portion of the payment collected on a monthly basis to pay the annual expenses such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, and termite bond.
How much do Pensacola Habitat for Humanity homeowners pay in taxes? In 2013 our homeowners paid $348,000 in Escambia County and $83,400 in Santa Rosa County.
Who manages the Pensacola Habitat mortgages? We do! We have an in-house team that collects payments, manages the escrow items and generally help our homeowners through the process of buying a home.
What if the homeowner can’t make the payment? Pensacola Habitat, like any other mortgage company, expects payment in full each month. Those mortgage payments are essential for the financial health of our organization. Our Finance staff works with homeowners that are experiencing financial difficulties to find solutions to delinquency problems.
What happens to a Habitat home if the homeowner passes away? A Habitat home is like any other asset a person owns. Arrangements can be made through estate planning (wills, deeds, etc.) for their home. If the mortgage still exists, the person that inherits the home must satisfy the mortgage or qualify on their own to continue to make the payments. We do require the new owner to probate the deceased estate in order to transfer the deed.
What if the homeowner decides to move? As with any home that a person purchases, the home would need to be sold and the mortgage satisfied. Any equity in the home would go to the homeowner. However, Pensacola Habitat for Humanity holds a First Right of Refusal on all mortgages and frequently purchases the home back from the homeowner.
Is it true that a Habitat homeowner never really owns their home? Absolutely not! Our homeowners receive the actual deed to their home at closing. Pensacola Habitat for Humanity holds a mortgage and once that is paid off, we record with the county a mortgage cancellation!
Can we rent a Habitat home? No, this is a home buying program!
What are the eligibility requirements? Our requirements change yearly. Check our HomeBuyer Program page for current information.
Can a single person apply? Yes, we accept applications from single persons with no children, and we consider this a family size of one. There is sometimes a misconception that we only partner with families with children, but this is not the case with Pensacola Habitat.
How do I apply? Your first step toward becoming a Habitat homeowner is to obtain an application. To obtain an application, you may attend a New Applicant Orientation at one of our regularly scheduled meetings in Escambia or Santa Rosa County, pick one up from our office in Pensacola, or download one from our website at www.pensacolahabitat.org/apply. Attending an orientation is part of the application process, even if it is not the first step you take. Then you must submit your completed and signed application, copies of proof of all income, and a copy of your valid photo ID in order for us to begin processing your application. Information regarding the specific documents we need to process your application is included in a checklist attached to the Application for HomeBuyer Program. If you appear to be a good candidate for our program, then you will be asked to come into our office for an Application Review, then to participate in a home visit by two representatives of our Family Selection Committee, and possibly also a meeting with the Family Selection Committee. If you are approved for our HomeBuyer Program, then you must attend New Partner Workshop 1 and 2 to learn more about what is expected of you as a HomeBuyer and what you can expect of Pensacola Habitat. If you are still interested in pursuing homeownership through our program, then you will sign our Letter of Acceptance and Agreement and begin completing your program requirements for sweat equity and payment obligations. The application process takes an average of two to three months to complete, depending on how quickly you provide us with any additional documents and information requested.
Do you have to be a first-time homebuyer in order to qualify? No, Pensacola Habitat applicants do not have to be first-time homebuyers, although the majority of our homebuyers are.
Do I qualify if I have ever had a foreclosure? It is possible. If you have ever owned a home and gone through foreclosure, you cannot owe any outstanding balance to the financial institution that held your previous mortgage. Your foreclosure also must have been finalized no less than two years ago.
If I have previously applied but been denied for your program, can I reapply? Yes, previously denied applicants can apply, more than once if necessary. If you were denied in the past by Pensacola Habitat, then you should have received a letter noting the reason(s) for your denial. If the factors that led to the denial have changed, we welcome you to apply again. Please be aware that if some time has passed since you last applied, you will be required to attend another New Applicant Orientation in order to learn about the new program requirements.
How high does my credit score have to be in order to qualify? We currently do not consider actual credit scores during the application process. However, in evaluating your creditworthiness, we do evaluate the amount of debt you have, how consistently you pay your current debts, whether you have any unpaid liens or judgments, and your debt to income ratio. Your credit does not have to be perfect, but you do have to demonstrate a level of financial responsibility in managing your debts.
Where does Pensacola Habitat for Humanity build homes? Our service area covers Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, and we are currently building in the Pensacola, Milton, Gulf Breeze, and Navarre areas.
Can Pensacola Habitat build a home on my own land? It is possible, but there is no guarantee. Land must be free of liens and other legal encumbrances before we will even consider it. Even then, we must inspect and evaluate the land to determine if the lot will accommodate one of our Habitat house plans and will conform with local building codes. There may be other considerations as well, so this decision is made on a case-by-case basis. You must first submit an application and be approved for the HomeBuyer Program before we can fully evaluate whether it is feasible for us to build on your property due to all of the steps in the process. Please inform the Family Services staff immediately if you have land that you wish to be considered for construction of your home.
If I am approved for the program, can I choose the location of my home? Pensacola Habitat assigns addresses where we have land and homes available at the time of home assignment, when HomeBuyers have completed approximately half of the sweat equity requirements and are in good standing financially. Although we cannot guarantee the location of your home, we do our best to take our HomeBuyers’ needs, priorities, and preferences into account when assigning a home. We review information provided to us during the application and Family Selection processes and consider updated financial information and other details regarding your case. In general, we typically consider factors such as the HomeBuyers’ job location, children’s school district, distance to a hospital for families with special medical needs, distance to a bus line for families with transportation issues, and any additional factors specific to your family. Approved applicants must enter our HomeBuyer Program with a willingness to accept either a newly constructed or rehabilitated home in the location assigned, based on the family’s needs and affordability range and our affiliate’s inventory at the time of home assignment.
If I am approved, how long does it take to complete the partnership requirements? After the two to three month application process, it can take approximately 13 months to finish the program requirements for HomeBuyers who complete the minimum 15 hours of sweat equity per month and pay the minimum program fee payment per month. It is possible to complete the program in several months if all mandatory workshops and construction hours are completed more quickly. Our homebuyer education classes are offered on a rotating schedule, and not all classes are available every month.
After I complete the program, how quickly can I move into my home? There is no specific answer to this question, because every family’s situation is different, and the length of time from completion of your program requirements to the time you go to closing depends on a number of factors. Some HomeBuyers may be assigned to homes that are already built or renovated at the time that the HomeBuyer completes the partnership requirements, while some HomeBuyers may be assigned to homes for which construction will not begin until after all program requirements are satisfied. It could take two months, or it could take 10 months, and there is no way for us to predict this when you are accepted into the program. What you need to understand is that Habitat is not a quick fix for housing problems and that partnering with us requires a long-term commitment, both during the program participation prior to moving into your home and afterwards until you pay off your mortgage.
Do you pick up my ReStore donation or should I bring it to you? We are very happy when donors can bring their donations to us. This helps us reduce costs associated with picking up items. If there are many items, large and heavy items or special handling required, our donation specialists can schedule a pick up at your home or business location usually within 1 week of request.
Can I donate extra items when you arrive for my scheduled pick up? It depends on time and space allocations. In many cases we are not able to get extra items unless we have planned for these ahead of time. When planning our daily route we account for each donation time and space needed. If we are ahead of schedule and will have space for all other scheduled stops, we will make every attempt to accept extra items.
Do you accept clothing or bedding? At this time we do not sell clothing or bedding. However, we want to make donating easy for you, so if 80% (size or value) of your donation is home improvement materials, we’ll take the 20% other items and donate them to other community assistant programs.
Do you throw away some donations that are made to the ReStore? We work hard to let people know that we only accept gently used, clean, working, no-repair-needed home improvement items. Unfortunately, at times we receive items which are not in sellable condition, with stain damage, broken, or missing parts. We are unable to repair and deep clean donations, so if we can’t sell it, it will giving away for FREE or thrown out.
When shopping the ReStore, can I get a better price if I ask? The best price is listed on the price tag of every item we put on the sales floor. For fairness, consistency and efficiency we are unable to negotiate prices. Items are marked down based on their length of time on the sales floor and how much inventory we have coming in. Usually, items are marked down every 30 days or so.
What types of projects does NR help with? Currently NR partners with neighborhood/community associations and civic groups to assist residents within established neighborhoods and redevelopment areas to conduct cleanups, beautification, and sustainable environmental projects. This might include repainting a house, cleaning historic cemeteries, clearing out vacant lots, painting street addresses on curbs, etc. We also work with neighborhood groups and associations to plan for the community and apply for grants to fund projects.
Isn’t the city/county responsible for taking care of neighborhoods? We work closely with the City of Pensacola and Escambia County to provide partner services for neighborhood improvement. Although they do provide many services, the need is much greater than they are able to accommodate in any given year.
My home needs to be repaired. Can you help with that? Pensacola Habitat is not planning to independently run a home repair program but we are in the process of partnering with a number of public and private, for profit and non-profit, and faith-based organizations to provide such assistance. During Fall 2013, we spearheaded the establishment of RENEW (Rehabilitate and Energize Neighborhoods by Empowering from Within) to bring these groups together as an ongoing collaboration, with the intention of beginning this home repair program in 2014.
I’ve heard about this program in the news. Didn’t you just get a lot of money to support this program? Yes, in October 2013 we were one of eight organizations to receive an IMPACT 100 grant for over $100,000. This helped to finance the startup costs for vehicles, equipment and tools to help in the neighborhood improvement aspects of the NR program.