A Brush With Kindness
A Brush With Kindness (ABWK) helps low-income homeowners who struggle to maintain the exterior of their homes, allowing them to reclaim their homes with pride and dignity. ABWK works in conjunction with volunteers and a base of sponsors.
Most importantly, ABWK is part of Habitat’s broader community development strategy called the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) designed to help to transform and strengthen communities so that those who reside in them will be able to live and grow into all that God intends for them.
Services include exterior painting, landscaping and minor repair services, which are sold to low-income homeowners.
Habitat for Humanity of Hardee County’s hope is that this program will be successful and a gratifying experience for all those that it touches.
- Home needing repair must be located in Hardee County
- Home needing repair must be the primary residence
- The home must be structurally sound
- The property cannot have any code violations as designated by Hardee County Building & Zoning Department.
Three basic family selection criteria are required for all Habitat families:
1. Need for adequate housing. Housing conditions that are physically inadequate, unsafe, overcrowded, expensive or any other applicable local factor. The need for adequate housing may be evaluated in the context of the HFH’S service area median income.
Additionally, a family’s inability to obtain a conventional loan to pay for the work can be seen as an indicator of need.
Circumstances that prevent the homeowners from doing the work themselves—such as disability, age or illness—can be seen as an indicator of need as well.
In many cases, homeowners simply lack the knowledge and ability to carry out general maintenance and repairs to their home. Furthermore, HFH may consider referrals from other housing programs or agencies as demonstration of need.
2. Ability to pay back the loan. Habitat for Humanity of Hardee County will serve families with incomes within the Habitat’s board-approved annual income guideline. Adjustments can be made to serve lower-income families subject to their ability to pay. During the family selection process, Habitat for Humanity of Hardee County will ensure that no family is debt-burdened by the selection decision.
Projects costs should include the cost of purchased building materials; the value of donated building materials and donated professional services.
HFH will make every attempt to fit the payment option to the homeowner’s ability to pay. HFH shall structure their repayment plan in such a way as to ensure that the monthly payment when combined with current home financial obligations (mortgage, insurance, property taxes and, where applicable, mortgage insurance and loan servicing) shall not exceed 30 percent of the household’s gross income. Habitat For Humanity International believes it is important for affiliates to seek cost recovery as soon as possible on NRI projects.
Furthermore, HFH’s board should determine how the repayment obligation will be documented, based on the scope of the work and Habitat’s capacity to generate and execute appropriate documents.
Several options are available for structuring the loan:
1. One option is to have the homeowner pay in full at the time the housing services are rendered. This may work for some smaller projects that the homeowner simply cannot perform alone. HFH will encourage this repayment option by offering a reduction in price if payment is made before or immediately after the project is complete.
2. For Level 1 NRI projects ($3,000 or less): An unsecured zero-interest loan paid in monthly installments (no more than five years is suggested) with a provision that the note be paid in full upon sale, refinancing or transfer of the property.
The affiliate may also choose to offer the homeowner prepayment incentives, such as:
- »»30 percent reduction if paid off within the first year.
- »»20 percent reduction if paid off within the second year.
- »»10 percent reduction if paid off within the third year.
3. Willingness to partner with the Habitat affiliate. The most consistent way to measure a family’s willingness to partner is through sweat equity. A minimum of 8 Hours is required hours and is based on the scope of the project. All present, physically capable family members must take an active role in the work.
Sweat Equity Opportunities
- Volunteering at the Habitat Office;
- Staging and preparing the house for the workday;
- Working alongside volunteers;
- Providing refreshments to volunteers;
- Cleaning up the project site;
- Volunteering to contribute on other Habitat projects in the community;
- Participating in fund raisers for Habitat.
Applications are being accepted and are approved as demand and funding allow.