Why Affordable Homeownership?
Affordable homeownership is one of the most pressing needs facing New Jersey communities
New Jersey is the sixth most expensive state to live in and Somerset and Hunterdon counties are two of the three most expensive counties in the state to live in. According to the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, the average fair-market rent in Somerset and Hunterdon counties for a modest two-bedroom apartment is $1654 per month. People in jobs paying minimum wage need to work 3.8 full-time jobs to afford this rent. As a result, families often live in overcrowded, unsafe, and unhealthy conditions to make ends meet. They frequently move to find more affordable and safe places to live, creating an unstable environment for their children.
Affordable homeownership builds strong, stable, healthy families and communities.
Financial Stability & Self-reliance: Affordable homeownership builds financial stability and self-reliance. Monthly mortgage payments for Habitat homeowners are 30-50% less than they’ve been paying to rent an apartment. Homeowners can use this extra money to get needed medical and dental care and prescriptions for themselves and their children, buy healthier food, go back to school and build savings for the future or in case of an emergency.
Education: Affordable homeownership creates stable home environments for children, contributing to improved educational outcomes.
Health: Decent, affordable homes can improve health by providing stability, freeing up resources for food and health care and increasing access to amenities in quality neighborhoods. A healthy environment in the home helps prevent the development of chronic illnesses such as asthma and can significantly mitigate their effects.
Neighborhood Economic Development: Affordable homes contributes to significant economic impacts, including increases in local purchasing power, job creation and new tax revenues.
The Habitat Program
The Habitat for Humanity program is a “partnership-housing” model; based on Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) builds affordable homes in partnership with low- and moderate-income families by mobilizing and engaging volunteers from across the community. With the support of volunteers, the RVHFH staff acquires property, secures and raises funds, and offers homeowner application opportunities for each new home. The selected family works side-by-side with corporate and community volunteers to build their new home.
With the help of generous subsidies provided by RVHFH and a 0% interest or equivalent mortgage, partner homeowners can purchase the home for a fraction of its market value and pay affordable monthly mortgage payments. Habitat homes are deed-restricted and will remain affordable homes in the community for many years to come, and in some cases, in perpetuity.
Who We Serve
RVHFH works exclusively with low- and moderate-income individuals and families, those who earn 50-80% of area median income. In addition to meeting these income guidelines, partner homeowners are:
- Living in overcrowded, dangerous or unhealthy environments or are rent-burdened
- Willing to contribute 500 hours of their own time towards the construction of their home
- United States citizens or permanent residents
- Have a steady income