Habitat for Humanity looking for new homebuyers in Ithaca area

Local News

ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Housing affordability has been a problem in the Ithaca area for a long time now, and the ongoing pandemic has made it even more difficult. Many low or moderate income families are having a tough time more than ever right now in trying to purchase an affordable home. However, Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties is working to change that.

It all boils down to supply and demand, and the pandemic has caused an even greater surge in demand. Currently, Habitat for Humanity is working to increase the amount of for sale housing units that are affordable in both Tompkins and Cortland counties.

This fall the non-profit organization celebrated two new home dedications in Ithaca. Both families have been working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity for more than a year. A family of four will be moving into one of the new homes soon, while a family of six will be moving into another new home this summer. In addition to this, the non-profit organization is working on three new projects and are currently looking for applicants.

“We’ve got three new projects in the pipeline. One is in a little bit more rural out in Danby, which is still Ithaca City School District, but its about 10 minutes south of downtown. Then also right downtown if anyone is interested in downtown living, right in the city of Ithaca there’s going to be a two bedroom and a three bedroom home that we will be renovating in that case, and another one would be a new build from the ground up,” says Liz Warner, Family Services Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties.

Habitat for Humanity serves families under 60% of the areas median income.

“That’s a little under $54,000 per year gross annual income for a household of four in Tompkins County. It’s about $43,000 a year for a household of two,” says Warner.

Individuals or families have to be under a certain income threshold to qualify for habitat’s program.

“We look at need, ability to pay the mortgage and willingness to partner. So the habitat program is somewhat unique in that its a close partnership where the home buyer to be is actually participating in the build or in some cases renovation of the home. So its what we call sweat equity and the home buyer should be kind of works alongside our staff and volunteers to complete their home. So we want to look at that willingness to partner. Are you able to fit that into your life at this time or do you have family or friends that can pitch into help you do that,” says Warner.

Habitat for Humanity is accepting applications from now until December 15, 2021.

“The whole process typically takes around a year on average for our home buyers. So once they are accepted into the program they spend about a year or so with us, doing their sweat equity hours, they take homeownership readiness courses,” says Warner.

Click here if you are interested in affordable homeownership. Once you are on the website, click the “Homeownership” tab for more details on Habitat’s income guidelines and application process. Individuals or families can also email Liz Warner at liz@tchabitat.com for more information.

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