Home Building for Home Ownership

Columbia County Habitat for Humanity builds homes with future homeowners and community volunteers. Once selected, partner families must contribute 300 hours of sweat equity – working on construction, at ReStore and/or in the Habitat office.

When completed, Habitat sells homes to partner families with affordable mortgages. Along the way, Habitat also prepares the families to be successful homeowners through first-time homebuyers classes before they close on their homes.

How To Become A Homeowner


If you’re interested in applying, the process begins when Habitat acquires property for a project. There are a few steps:

The first is to read and understand the detailed application criteria listed below. Then, fill out the Application for Housing and send it and other requested materials to the Family Selection Committee at the address on the form.

You must also:

  • Meet with Habitat staff to review your application and materials for completeness
  • Have a family interview in your home


The Application Process:

Habitat Partner Families are chosen based on evaluation of three criteria:

  1. Ability to Pay

The total applicant household income must include income from all members of the household and must be documented by copies of paystubs, W-2s, benefit letters, etc.  Total household income must be enough for the family to be able to make affordable monthly payments, but cannot be below 25% or exceed 60% of the median income for Columbia County, based on family size, as shown in the table below. FY 2015 Median Income for County was $74,900.

Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Income 60% $31,465 $35,960 $40,455 $44,950 $48,546 $52,142 $55,738 $59,334
Income 25% $13,150 $15,000 $16,850 $18,750 $20,250 $21,750 $23,250 $24,750


Habitat evaluates the financial readiness of each applicant household, but does not use credit scores as criteria. A credit report, however, will be run on an applicant to review the applicant’s general payment history.

  1. Willingness to Partner

Applicant(s) must be agree to:

  • Invest 300 hours in “sweat equity”. All families buying Habitat houses around the world help with the building of their own homes.  Friends and family members 16 years or older can participate to help to earn hours.
  • Attend an approved First-Time Homebuyers course before purchasing a Habitat home.
  • Take financial and maintenance responsibility for a Habitat home.
  • Submit to a Sex Offender database check and a Criminal Background Check as part of the application process.
  1. Need for Adequate Housing

Applicant(s) must demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • They are financially unable to obtain a conventional mortgage loan to purchase adequate shelter.
  • The current shelter is substandard and the problems(s) are assumed to be of such magnitude that simple maintenance of the defects is not a reasonable
  • The current shelter has an inadequate number of bedrooms as determined by the number, ages, and sex of household members.
  • The current neighborhood is unsuitable (unsafe or unsanitary).


When you become a Habitat partner family, you’re required to complete first-time home-buyer education classes before home closing. Topics include money management, information about mortgages, how to stay financially fit and tips on home maintenance and safety.

This training program is designed to provide you with the knowledge to be a successful homeowner.

After you move into your home, a community volunteer will become your Family Advocate. She or he will provide a warm welcome and meet with you regularly to answer questions as they come up.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.


All hands on deck! Join us today and help build a home.

Volunteer Now!

93% of every dollar Habitat raises goes to build affordable housing for working families.

Donate Now!

By phone, email or in person.

Contact Us!

Final Push in Valatie

As of August of 2017, Habitat is in the home-stretch on the two Valatie homes. These are the first houses to be built in Vala…

Read More

30 x 2020: Affordable, Energy Efficient Homes

In an ambitious campaign to meet heightened demand for affordable housing, Columbia County Habitat’s goal is to build 12 ho…

Read More

Shell Shares Her Story

For Willette, known to her friends as Shell, and her daughters Autumn, then 16, and Trinity, then 9, moving into their own Ha…

Read More

Family Selection Process Opens for New Lebanon House

Columbia County Habitat for Humanity has opened the family selection process for a single-family house in New Lebanon. Applic…

Read More