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Selection Criteria & Process

Family Selection
Purpose - As a ministry, Fayette County Habitat for Humanity does not discriminate in the selection of families to be selected as partner in a home build. This policy outlines the processes we use to assure fair treatment of those who apply.


Policy - The families who purchase homes from the Fayette County Habitat for Humanity are selected by the Family Selection Committee using three basic criteria in a way that does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, age, handicap, religion, national origin, family status, marital status, or because all or part of income is derived from any public assistance program.



Procedure - Fayette County Habitat for Humanity will make good faith efforts to comply with the following procedures. As a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian  housing  ministry  that seeks to eliminate substandard housing from the face of the earth by partnering with low­-income families to build or renovate adequate, affordable housing  that  is  sold  to the family without profit or interest. There are three selection criteria that are used to objectively make selections. The criteria are very helpful in keeping the evaluation focused, yet, does take into consideration the many diverse situations applicant families find themselves.



Need for Adequate ShelterHousing need, as determined through the evaluation process, must be evident because it is not possible to assist everyone. Families who qualify for other options should pursue them. Habitat selects low-income partner families whose present housing is inadequate. The families desire to become homeowners, but are unable to do so. They are willing to do what they can to help themselves improve their housing situations.



Ability to PayUsing factors such as minimum income guidelines, debt-to-income ratio, monthly

payment  consistency  along  with  other  factors,  a  determination  of  whether  or  not

applicants  have  the  resources  necessary  to  purchase  a  house  from Habitat  can  be made.


Willingness to PartnerApplicants must be willing to commit to the sweat-equity requirement, to pay the

down payment   and  to  participate   in  the  homeowner   education  opportunities   as outlined in the letter of acceptance.


Many families may find that the opportunity to grasp affordable housing through Habitat has escaped them. Unfortunately, some families will not be able to fit into the window of opportunity provided by Habitat. Other opportunities will arise as the families' situations improve or other resources are made available. By focusing on specific selection criteria and on locally determined goals, Fayette County Habit for Humanity will remain effective because:


  • Opportunities will be provided to families one at a time

  • Other programs will be developed and used by those who fall outside the specified criteria as the awareness of such needs are made evident.

  • Decent, affordable housing will be provided to reduce the problem of inadequate housing.


It is understood that home ownership is not for everyone. If a family is not stable enough to handle the responsibilities of home-ownership, the Habitat program may not be beneficial. It is hoped that doors will be opened to families that meet the strict requirements and have the dedication to meet the partnering expectations of Habitat.

Family Selection Criteria

Residency - Applicants considered for approval as Partner Families must be U.S. citizens or legal residency status and have lived in Fayette County, Texas, for at least 12 months prior to final approval.

Background Checks - All applicants shall administer to the following background checks. If the applicant, co-applicant or adult member of the family is registered on the sex offender or OFAC list, or if there is a positive hit on the criminal background check for either a conviction of a felony or fraud then the applicant is disqualified. 

  • Sex offender registry

  • Criminal background check

  • OFAC Sanctions List Check (Office of Foreign Assets Control)

Marital Status - If the applicant is married but separated from spouse then both applicant and spouse’s income shall be included in determining income or divorce needs to be finalized and divorce decree submitted.  Questionable cases shall be checked with public records to determine marital status.

Need For Adequate Shelter

Methods and resources used to determine need for adequate shelter are as follows:

  • Information given when the contact sheet is filled out.

  • Information given on actual homeowner application.

  • Habitat "Current Housing Evaluation" completed on interview visit.

  • Utility bills - verify currency of payments as well as costs.

  • Rent or house payment stub.

  • Medical documentation of special needs.

  • Evaluation by a bank loan official regarding conventional financing options.

  • Total income verification from documents used to ascertain ability to pay.

Issues considered during the "Current Housing Evaluation" include repairability, HVAC systems, plumbing, electrical, accessibility and others.

Income GuidelinesA family can be considered to be within local guidelines If:

  1. Family's total gross income, presently calculated using HUD's  income guidelines, is no less than 30% and does not exceed 60 %  of the  county median income based on family size. (The chart below is shown as an example when considering a family.)

Additional  Considerations:

  1. Trailers/mobile homes are not inherently inadequate.

  2. Habitat houses and lots may not be significantly larger than some present situations.

  3. Habitat site selections are made by Habitat and are not the choice of potential buyers.

  4. A reliable vehicle (asset) for transportation to and from work does not preclude consideration.

  5. Living in subsidized housing does not necessarily preclude a family from consideration.

Ability to Pay

The following factors are used to determine whether applicants have resources necessary to purchase housing with Habitat:

When considering ability to pay the following are taken into consideration:
Minimum Income Guidelines

Debt-to-Income Ratio
Monthly Payment Consistency

Bankruptcy, Liens and Judgments

The partner family must save up to $1,500 prior to closing.

Certifying the Ability to Pay - The following methods and resources are used to determine actual ability to pay:

  1. Information given on the homeowner application.

  2. Employment paycheck stubs.

  3. Public assistance income documents.

  4. Bank references.

  5. Credit reports and credit references,

  6. IRS tax forms. The board requires a verification of the family's tax returns for the last three years. IRS documents are used to confirm need, assets and accuracy of application, not income eligibility.

  7. Employment references.

  8. Records of liens and judgments.

  9. The partner family will be referred to Consumer Credit Counseling for debt analysis and financial counseling.


A family can be considered willing if:

  1. Family took initiative to obtain an application and fill it out completely.

  2. Family readily engaged in a home visit.

  3. Family attempted to attend Habitat functions.

  4. Family provided necessary documentation.

  5. Family members expressed desire to make this community their permanent home.

  6. Family is comfortable with credit and landlord reference evaluations.


A family can be considered willing if:

  1. Family participated in an explanation of what Habitat is and is not.

  2. Family engaged in an explanation of "So, you want to be a homeowner."

  3. Family is pleased with Habitat's basic house design.

  4. Family knows it is responsible for care of its home.

A family can be considered willing if:

  1. Family realizes the sweat-equity requirement and its demands.

  2. Family realizes implications of a highly publicized program.

  3. Family realizes that it must make payment monthly without default.

  4. Family realizes expectations of the letter of acceptance.

  5. Family realizes the equity sharing mechanism.

  6. Family realizes that Habitat needs it as an active partner.

Certifying Willingness to Partner - The following methods and resources are used to determine willingness to partner:

  1. Information given on the homeowner application.

  2. Information gathered in interview.


Selection of Partner FamilyThe Family Selection Committee shall evaluate each candidate's application and interview information for those deemed appropriate to have received an interview by the Family Selection Committee. After complete, fair and non-discriminatory evaluations of the facts, the Committee shall recommend a Partner Family to the Fayette County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. The recommendation shall include any appropriate ratings and facts that support the selection of the Partner Family. The Board of Directors shall select by means of vote the partner family.

Notification of Selected Partner Family - After the Board has selected a partner family, the President shall notify the successful candidate family by a memorandum substantially containing the content of the letter Appendix 1, including the Basic House Description, Sweat Equity Policy and Recital of Acts.

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