New Home Owners!
A Ribbon Cutting
What We Build
Safe and affordable means that Habitat houses are modestly-sized. Large enough for the homeowner family's needs, but small enough to keep construction and maintenance costs to a minimum. Energy efficient from the foundation, the appliances, and furnace to the R-50 attic insulation and quality roofing. A Habitat home provides comfort and reasonable monthly utility costs. Standard house plans donated by local Architect, Henry Isaksen, are reviewed and modified annually as we constantly work to improve our building practices to meet our homeowner needs. We make every effort to build homes in the community where the family is currently residing, preferring to keep children in the same school system. Habitat provides real estate, pulls permits, purchases building materials, recruits a volunteer work force and hires sub contractors.
“This home is more than a house. It is a home with love. Built with love and hope and dreams because of Habitat for Humanity. You’ve given our family hope – no matter how bad things get or have been in the past. God has blessed our family with the caring, supportive, concerned, kind people at Habitat.”
– a Habitat for Humanity Homeowner
How It Works
Habitat partners with individuals and families from application through construction, to the dedication when keys are handed over, and beyond.
By working with Habitat from beginning to end, we can help prospective individuals prepare for the various responsibilities of home ownership, including learning about personal finances, mortgages, maintenance and upkeep of homes, and much more. Habitat’s path to home ownership is an important and in-depth process, requiring hard work, time, and dedication. This helps to ensure the long-term success of Habitat homeowners.
How to qualify for a Habitat home
Habitat homeowners must be active participants in building a better home and future for themselves and their families. Every Habitat home is an investment. Stronger homes and homeowners will create stronger communities.
Can anyone apply to be a Habitat Homeowner?
Yes. Habitat follows a nondiscriminatory policy of homebuyer selection and qualification. Door County Habitat for Humanity is committed to equity and justice in the communities in which we work. Habitat strives to be a place where people of all races, all faiths, and all backgrounds can come together in a common cause. We are committed to be actively anti-racist supporting inclusion and diversity.
- Door County resident for 12 months prior to Application
- Be at least 18 years old
Future Habitat homeowners must demonstrate a need for safe, affordable home ownership.
- Examples might be a living situation that is unsafe, with structural or mechanical problems, unsanitary conditions, mold, insects, or disrepair, overcrowded, or inadequate sleeping arrangements.
- Financial need may be demonstrated if you are unable to obtain a conventional or government assisted home loan; your current cost of housing is greater than 30% of gross household income, Or if you meet the 2020 Program income limits listed below (60% of HUD median family income):
|Family Size||Maximum Income|
Willing to Partner
Future Habitat homeowners must partner with us throughout the process. Homeowners must be willing to complete "Sweat Equity" hours. Sweat Equity is when a future homeowner family takes part in building their own home, other Habitat homes, working at our ReStore, at special events, or other Habitat activities. Every adult in the household must contribute at least 200 hours.
Ability to Pay
Homeowners must be able and willing to pay an affordable mortgage and escrow payments. Mortgage payments are cycled back into the community to help build additional Habitat houses. Applicants must have a steady, reliable source of income and demonstrate financial responsibility. Modest earnest money is required when signing the building agreement. Financial education and actions to develop this ability are a key part of the Habitat partnering process. We work with other community programs to provide the assistance required for families to learn these valuable skills.
“I knew I wanted to stand and help others who were feeling what I felt, to tell them it’s OK,” said Kendra Clarizio-Bilodeau, sitting near the front window of a place she wasn’t sure she would ever have - a home of her own. “I want others to look at me and know that if she can do it, I can.”
Clarizio-Bilodeau was the grateful 40th partner of the Door County Habitat for Humanity. The single mother and her children - El, 14, and Matthew, 16 moved into their home on 6th Avenue in Sturgeon bay in 2017, and she vowed to help the next partner family build its home. Three years later, she’s not just helping - she has joined the organization’s board of directors.
Before Habitat chose her as a partner and future homeowner, Clarizio-Bilodeau was at a crossroads. Her landlord had unexpectedly raised the rent on her two-bedroom apartment by $75 per month. It was money she didn't have and a jump she didn't see coming. She blamed herself for putting her family in a situation in which the rug could be pulled out from underneath them. “I was really down on myself for it,” she said. “I felt guilty. I thought it was my fault.”
She struggled to ask for help until her godmother convinced her to apply to Habitat for Humanity. That application changed more than a living situation.
“I wanted a place to call home. I wanted to break a lot of cycles of my upbringing,” she said, struggling to hold her emotions in check as she talked about the home and what it meant to her and her two children. She was on site for every build day for her home, and she pulled her children out of school for every major moment, making sure they appreciated the steps and the work of the volunteers who were putting in the time time to build them a home.
– Kendra Clarizio-Bilodeau, Habitat Home Owner, Board Member
Adapted from 2020 Door County Living Philathropy Issue. By Myles Dannhausen, JR