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Woman and daughter cut ribbon

$150 provides a kitchen sink for a DC Habitat family home

Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C., Inc.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. (DC Habitat) works to reduce poverty housing in the nation's capital by building decent, affordable, energy-efficient homes for low income, working families. Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. 

Population Served: DC Habitat partners with low- to moderate-income families in DC who purchase these homes. To be eligible for our homeownership program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must currently live in poverty/substandard/over-crowded housing
  • Must live or work in DC and have citizenship or be a permanent resident alien
  • Must make a down payment of at least $500
  • Must have a credit score of 620 or higher 
  • Must be first-time homebuyers 
  • Must be "willing to partner" -- i.e., complete a minimum of 300 "sweat equity" hours, volunteering on the construction site of their future home or the homes of Habitat neighbors and completing a minimum of 30 hours of financial literacy classes. 

Description of Organization, Programs and Activities:  

In order to accomplish our mission we play a combination of roles. First, we are a social service agency, reaching out to nearly 500 families per year who need affordable housing. Our staff offer support to homebuyer families throughout the purchase process and the 15+ years partner families are in their homes. Homebuyers are provided first-time homebuyer information, credit counseling and financial literacy training through our partner network. We are also a construction company, using volunteer and AmeriCorps labor, and requiring each homebuyer to invest 300 hours of "sweat equity", working on site to build their home and the houses of their Habitat neighbors. This enables us to build professional quality homes at affordable prices. Finally, we work with families to secure affordable mortgages. Homebuyers enter into 30-year, low to no-interest mortgages either with DC Habitat or our one of partner organizations, keeping their monthly payments at a fraction of what a comparable rental would cost in DC. 

Prospective homeowners make a down payment of approximately $500 and contribute 300 hours of sweat equity, which in addition to volunteering on site includes 30 hours of financial literacy education. Mortgage payments on completed homes are reinvested in a revolving Fund for Humanity to finance further construction and the acquisition of additional properties and building materials. We refer our families to a number of nonprofit organizations in the area, including University Legal Services, Latino Economic Development Corporation, Housing Counseling Services, and more, to receive their financial literacy training. Exact curriculum varies depending on the organization with which each applicant chooses. DC Habitat Housing and Programs staff and the staff of our partner organizations work together to deliver pre and post-purchase homeownership education sessions and meetings. Families that meet most requirements but that have credit rehabilitation needs are referred to one of our partners, and DC Habitat staff will follow up with these clients to keep them on track towards meeting their goal of program eligibility. 

From our founding in 1988 through FY2017, we will have built and rehabilitated nearly 200 homes across all four quadrants of the District, utilizing between 2,000 - 4,000 volunteers per year. 

DC Habitat recently completed a development located at 429 60th Street Northeast, a four-unit rehabilitation project for lower-income households earning between 30 and 50 percent of area median income (AMI). The units are being rehabilitated to the EarthCraft standard, which will reduce our homeowners' energy usage by 30 percent, decreasing their utility expenses for the long-term.  

Our current work site, located at 23 46th Street Southeast, includes five single-family townhomes also built to EarthCraft standards. These homes will serve families earning between 30 and 80 percent of AMI. This is a new construction project that began in April of 2016, and we plan to finish construction in the spring of 2017. 

We also plan to begin work on a 14-unit multifamily development in Southeast and 12-unit development in Ivy City this year.