FAQ

ABOUT THE NEEDHAM INTERFAITH HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HOUSE PROJECT

What is the Mission Statement?
“In response to the strong need for affordable housing in Needham, the faith community joins together to develop a Needham Interfaith Habitat for Humanity House.”
What is Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization whose participants, representing many different faiths and diverse backgrounds, are bound by the common goal of helping people own decent homes who would otherwise not be able to do so. Habitat was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, GA. Since its inception Habitat has built over 100,000 homes worldwide. The Needham Interfaith Habitat for Humanity Home committee is a Partner of the Habitat for Humanity, Greater Boston affiliate, which has built 50 homes in the Boston area since 1987.
Where will the land in Needham come from?
A donation of land – only ¼ acre is needed – or property including a house is sought. The donor would receive current market value tax credit. If a donor does not come forward, we will work with the Town of Needham to develop one of the parcels they have identified as available. This would need Town Meeting approval.
Who is eligible to be a Habitat family?
The income guideline is based on size of family, cost of mortgage and taxes, and ranges from a minimum that covers these costs to a maximum of 50% of the median income in Needham area based on HUD statistics and number in family. Our range will be approximately from $30,000 to $42,000 based on family size. The family must have a substantial need for housing such as inadequate housing, overcrowding, too much income going to rent payments, etc. The family also must have an ability to pay (adequate credit rating) and a willingness to partner with Habitat through sweat equity.
Who does the family selection?
The Family Selection Committee made up of volunteers from Needham and the Habitat for Humanity, Greater Boston makes the selection based on the application, interviews, and home visits. If the land is donated by the Town of Needham, it can put stipulations on family selection i.e. Needham resident or worker, lottery, etc.
When is the family selected?
As soon as land is received and fund raising is in process, the family will be selected.
What does the house cost the family?
First, they have to put in 300 hours of sweat equity in building the house and attend 50 hours of home education classes before occupancy and 50 more in the first year.

The cost of the home is $150,000. Habitat for Humanity, Greater Boston gives them a mortgage at 0% for 25-30 years. The Brookline Savings Bank services the mortgage.

The down payment is about $1000. They also have to pay 3 months’ property taxes before closing and $500 contribution toward closing costs. The total needed at closing is usually $1,500 to $2000 (perhaps more in Needham because of tax level).
Does the family pay property taxes?
Yes, the family pays at the rate required by the Town of Needham at the appraised market value. In other words, this family’s taxes are assessed just like any other property owner in Needham. Their taxes may be more than the principal on their mortgage!
How is speculation prevented?
The family is given a “silent” Second Mortgage that is the difference between the First Mortgage and the appraised fair market value of the property. For the first 20 years, each year that the family lives in the property the Second Mortgage is decreased by 5%. Thus a family can build equity. Habitat also has Right of First Refusal.
What type of house will be built?
The Construction Committee of Habitat for Humanity, Greater Boston will design the home after the lot is obtained. The Needham team will have one or more members on this committee. Basically, three-bedroom, one and half bath homes are built. For larger families, more bedrooms would be included. If the neighborhood in Needham had duplexes, an attractive duplex would be built, providing two families with homes!
When can I start pounding nails?
When we have the land, we will begin construction. Habitat for Humanity, Greater Boston has a construction supervisor and staff supervisor on site. Volunteers will be recruited from the various faith communities in Needham for work days. Local tradespersons may volunteer for special tasks, i.e. site preparation, electrical, plumbing, etc.
How can I give money?
You may give through your local congregation. Simply designate it as Needham Habitat. Your congregation will acknowledge the gift for tax purposes. Or you may send your donation directly to Needham Interfaith Habitat (NIH) P. O. Box 414, Needham Heights, MA 02494.
How can I give land?
Talk to your clergy person or contact the Rev. John Buehrens, President of the Needham Clergy Association, 781-444-0823 or Tim McCleary at 781-559 8341. A real estate attorney in one of the congregations has volunteered to help with the legal work.