How to Qualify for a Habitat for Humanity Home in Bend, Oregon

House Talk Episode 42 – How to Qualify for a Habitat for Humanity Home in Bend, Oregon with DeeDee Johnson, Director of Family Services for Bend Area Habitat for Humanity.

Karen Malanga: Hey, this is Karen Malanga with another edition of House Talk.

I’m really excited today to welcome back both Paige and DeeDee from Habitat ReStore in Bend, Oregon.

So, DeeDee, I think what you’re going to go over with us today is how does someone qualify to be a Habitat homeowner?

DeeDee Johnson: Correct, yes, yes.

Karen: I hope that my verbiage is correct. I’m not sure what you call a Habitat home owner. Is that right?

DeeDee: It is! Actually, the way we start the process is we do four information sessions a years. We have one coming up. Our next one is on July 5th at 5:30 at the Bend downtown library. It’s just an information session for an hour. People need to come before they can apply for our program because once they’re accepted into the program, it takes them about a year at least to get through the program before they purchase their Habitat home.

Karen: Okay.

DeeDee: And so, I think they need to know what they’re getting into and the partnership agreement and what a great deal it is because I think there’s a stigma that we’re looking at letting people know that Habitat isn’t just low income homes and families.

We know in Bend that it’s very challenging to purchase a home for working families. And so the income range is one of them that I think might surprise people. We look at monthly income of anywhere from about $1500 to about $4900 per month depending on their family size.

Karen: And then, what about work history? How How long have they have to have a job, for a certain period of time or…?

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DeeDee: More and more, what we’re looking towards, we work with a lot of programs through the state and we partner a lot with the city. And yes, it looks a lot more like the traditional lending world, a minimum credit score of 620 and an employment history that they can show for at least two years. And they need to be willing to do 500 hours of sweat equity while they’re in the program.

And the partnership between us is really about attending classes. We set them up with a mentor. We make sure people are ready for homeownership and that they’re going to be successful with homeownership.

But the first part of that whole selection process starts with the information session. We work with clients one on one. We sit down with them in pre-counseling sessions and we help them get basically pre-qualified in that regard. And there’s no cost to it. Our staff is happy to work with people individually. And we would have them apply for any type of a home loan or…

Karen: Yeah, yeah. You always have standards that you have to meet and the process that you have to go through.

DeeDee: Right. It’s really almost kind of an intimate process where we look one on one with them at their goals and try to put them into different resources that might help them get their…

Karen: That’s great information. And so, Paige, your part in all this is helping raise the money to fund these homes, correct, by sales at the ReStore?

Paige Shull: Yes. So, all of the sales at the ReStore do stay here in Bend. And I have to explain this kind of a lot at the store to our customers, that each store is different.

So, the ReStore at Sisters or the ReStore at the Pine or Redmond are all going to be operating very differently. And I think that’s so great because the money stays in that back community. So when you’re shopping at the ReStore, the money is staying in Bend. When you’re shopping at the Pine or Sisters or Redmond, the money is staying in those communities.

Karen: I understand.

Paige: So, it’s a very grassroots effort. And yeah, I’m really proud to work for a store that is so invested, absolutely.

Karen: Yeah. So, thank you both for coming. And then, once more, DeeDee, can you tell us the date and the location of your informational—wait, wait, let me change that. “Of your informational,” what the heck is that?

So, one more time, DeeDee, can you tell us how people can learn more about home ownership through Habitat? And I believe you said it was July 5th?

DeeDee: Correct, correct. We have an information session in the Brooks Room at the downtown Bend library on July 5th at 5:30 p.m. They can call our main office or they can RSVP through the website, so that we make sure we have enough materials for everyone. And that is BendHabitat.org/homeownership. And they’ll see the tabs on our website as well. Or they can call the main office at 541-385-5387. They can ask for myself or they can just let anyone know that they’re talking to, whoever answers the phone there.

Karen: Alright! Well, thank you, you guys, for being back on House Talk. We really appreciate it.

DeeDee: Thank you so much for having us.

Paige: Thank you.

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