Habitat for Humanity has been building houses in Slave Lake since the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire. One of the houses built in 2019 is back on the market.
“This home became available through the buy-back,” says Amber Lachambre, Habitat Edmonton vice president of sustainability and impact. This program means Habitat can “open up home ownership opportunities through a buy-back as well as through construction.”
The buy-back program means that Habitat has first refusal should the home owner decide to sell, she adds. In the past, people have used the equity they have built as a down payment on a home in the open market or for many other things. This program means that the Habitat homes remain within the affordable housing market longer.
This home is a three-bedroom bungalow in southeast Slave Lake. It has a large yard and an unfinished basement.
The estimated monthly mortgage payment is $825, which is half of what it would be on the open market. This doesn’t include property tax or utilities.
“It’s really an amazing opportunity for families and individuals,” says Lachambre. “It makes it accessible for families to get into home ownership.”
The Habitat system is that Habitat holds half of the mortgage without interest for 20 years. The other half is at below market rate with a mortgage company. There’s no down payment.
“You need a good credit rating and a manageable debt load,” says Lachambre. “The ability to qualify for a mortgage.”
The program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with a family income of between $45,000 and $75,000 per year. One family member must have a full-time job. The family or individual also has to do 500 hours of volunteer work in the community.
The volunteer work can be “any number of things,” says Lachambre.
Habitat works with both families and individuals, says Lachembre. However, since this is a three-bedroom house it would likely go to a family. This can be multi-generational, a parent with a special needs dependant adult child, a family with young children, etc.
Habitat encourages people to apply even if they aren’t sure if they meet all of the requirements, says Lachambre. The Habitat staff may be able to help people figure out how to qualify.
The Habitat application is in stages. First, people fill out a basic application on hfh.org. Then if they qualify, the Habitat staff will help them with the rest of the application over the phone or via video chat.
Habitat has built four houses in Slave Lake, which has helped four families.