MISSION STATEMENT Bay Area Habitat for Humanity seeks to put God’s love into action bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Bay Area Habitat for Humanity is the only non-profit home builder in the Galveston, Southeast Harris and Northern Brazoria County area partnering with families to build quality, safe, affordable and energy efficient homes with zero percent interest mortgages. We pride ourselves as being a front runner in the solution to the massive problem of an inadequate stock of affordable housing in our area. Our program focuses on helping the families we serve become self-sufficient and constructive members of the community contributing to the City, County and School Taxes.
We can not do it alone; Bay Area Habitat for Humanity has made the commitment to focus on collaborating with local municipalities, other non-profits and social service agencies and local business owners to work towards achieving our goal to not only serve families in need, but to also revitalize the Texas Gulf Coast one community at a time.
There is a huge need in Galveston and South east Harris Counties. According to the 2010 Census Bureau:
- 39.9% of families are living below 50% of the area median income
- The median rent in the community is $751
- The percentage of low income renter households paying more than 30% of monthly income on housing (cost burdened) is 43.3%
Bay Area Habitat for Humanity is the solution to the lack of quality affordable rental units and the hardships families face with when qualifying for traditional home loans. We qualify families based on need, the ability to re-pay the zero percent interest loan and the desire to partner with us. We work with families earning between 45% and 60% or less than the area median income. Our homeowners work full time in jobs such as school maintenance or cafeteria workers, home health workers, grocery store workers and more. These families are hardworking and deserving of a chance at affordable homeownership.
- Families earn equity and credit in lieu of large down payments by working 300 “sweat equity” hours.
- Families take budgeting and financial literacy classes
- The cost of homes are kept down due to tremendous volunteer participation.
- Homes are sold at cost with zero percent interest loans making monthly payments affordable, in most cases lower than what families are paying for current rental units.
- Families are screened by our staff, a Family Selection Committee and finally our Board of Directors. We pride ourselves in selecting families that are willing to partner and work hard to make better futures for themselves and their children.
Why other housing options are challenging
Today’s homeownership affordability problems reflect the long-term rise in housing costs and the ongoing weakness in income growth. This trend grew more pronounced in 2000–9 when real median income for households in the bottom income quartile fell 7.1 percent while real rents increased 8.9 percent. As a result, the gap between the supply of and demand for affordable homes widened. In 1999, 8.5 million extremely low-income renter households (with income less than 30 percent of area medians) competed for 3.6 million units that were affordable at that income cutoff and that were not occupied by higher-income renters. By 2009, the mismatch had grown to 10.4 million extremely low-income renter households and just 3.7 million affordable and available units.
While lowest-income households are most likely to have severe housing cost burdens, the problem has moved up the income scale. Among households with real incomes under $15,000, 66.4 percent were severely burdened in 2009—an increase of 4.8 percentage points from 2001. But shares among households with incomes in the $15,000–30,000 range were also up 6.6 percentage points over the decade, to 27.7 percent. Households with incomes of $30,000–45,000 saw a 4.2 percentage point increase, bringing the severely cost-burdened share to 11.5 percent. Moreover, the share of households with incomes of $45,000– 60,000 (roughly three to four times the full-time minimum wage equivalent) nearly doubled to 6.4 percent.
Household characteristics also affect the likelihood of having severe housing cost burdens. Low-income families with children have an especially difficult time finding affordable units, with nearly two-thirds paying more than half their incomes for housing in 2009. The number of children living in such households stood at 9.2 million that year, up 12.2 percent from before the financial crisis in 2007 and fully 35.1 percent from 2001. With so many families struggling to make ends meet, it is no surprise that the number of families using homeless shelters is also on the rise. Although the incidence of chronic homelessness fell, the number of families with children that used homeless shelters at least once increased by about 30 percent from 2007 to 2009, to more than 170,000.
Families with severe housing cost burdens have little to spend on other necessities. After devoting more than half their monthly outlays to rent, families with children in the bottom expenditure quartile on average had only $593 left to cover all other expenses. Compared with similar families living in affordable housing, these households spent $160 less on food each month, $28 less on healthcare, $152 less on transportation, and $51 less on retirement savings. In 2010, their total monthly expenditures included just $290 for food, $15 for healthcare, $71 for transportation, and $59 for retirement savings.
Federal housing assistance programs provide critical support to millions of America’s poorest and most vulnerable households. At roughly $7,000 per year, the average HUD rent subsidy is a significant benefit for some 5 million households. Other federal assistance programs help up to 2 million more struggling households. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that counting housing assistance as income would have lifted 1.5 million persons above the poverty level in 2009.
But rent subsidies are not an entitlement and they reach only about one in four of the households that are eligible.
The government footprint in the mortgage market was larger than ever in 2010. Inside Mortgage Finance reports that Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and FHA owned or guaranteed approximately 90 percent of single-family mortgage originations last year.
With Fannie, Freddie, and FHA cutting back on higher-risk loans, borrowers with low credit scores have found it increasingly difficult to obtain financing. The share of home-purchase mortgages originated to persons with credit scores below 600 thus dropped from 9.0 percent in 2006 to just 0.5 percent in 2010, while the share originated to persons with scores of 740 or higher increased from about 34 percent to about 44 percent. Even among FHA loans, both the volume and share of low-credit score borrowers fell in 2010 after a surge in 2008–9.