1. Are You Ready To Provide A Safe, Decent, Affordable Home For Your Family?

  • Are you unable to obtain a conventional home loan?

  • Is your current home overpriced, overcrowded or in disrepair?

  • Are you willing to help us build your new home?

  • Are you able to make monthly mortgage and escrow payments?

  • Have you lived or worked in Manistee County for a least one year?

  • Do you meet the income limits listed?

*Income levels are set annually by US Department of Housing & Urban Development and are 40-70% of the median income. (Note: Minimum income limits have been adjusted to reflect the income required to afford the mortgage payment for the house size required for the family size.) *FY 2018 income limits summary—HUD

All family member income is included in the calculation of a family’s total gross income.

  • Income from all wages, SSI, SSDI, housing assistance, retirement, alimony, VA benefits, child support, etc. are included.

  • The guidelines are annual (to convert monthly income to annual multiply amount by 12).

  • Income guidelines are listed by family size.

Manistee County Income Limits

Manistee County Income Limits

2. There Must Be A Demonstrated Need In Order To Qualify For A Habitat Home.

Need is determined by a family’s current living conditions. Some examples of need are outlined below (this list is not all-inclusive).

Structural/mechanical problems in building (Visible holes or large cracks, Leaks, hazardous/toxic materials, Electrical problems, Plumbing problems, Appliances not working)

Inadequate sleeping arrangements (More than 2 persons share a room, Different gendered children sharing a room, Persons having to sleep on the floor)

Unsanitary conditions or health risks (Bugs, Rodents, Sewage problems, Stairway in disrepair, Allergy concerns)

Temporary or transitional housing (Family currently living with relatives, Family in emergency shelter, Homelessness)

Current housing does not meet the physical needs

Unable to obtain a conventional mortgage

3. Ability to pay is determined by information collected during application process.

Information on the paper application, pay stubs, benefit statements, previously filed federal tax returns, and credit reports are examples of the resources used to determine this ability.


  • a steady, reliable source of income and demonstrate financial responsibility

  • the ability to pay a monthly house payment at approximately 25% of gross monthly income (taxes and insurance included)

  • the ability to pay projected monthly utilities (electric/gas & water/sewer)

  • NOT have filed for bankruptcy within the past 2 years

  • NOT have outstanding collections, liens or judgments that cannot reasonably be paid by the completion of the home build

  • Provide proof of residency in Manistee County for a minimum of one year.

4. Partner family must be willing to complete “sweat-equity” hours.

Families who partner with Manistee County HFH are required to put in a minimum of 250 hours of sweat equity before moving into their new home. The partner family and their advocate from Manistee County HFH will work together on a plan for completing the sweat equity requirement. 

Sweat equity hours are in no way a down payment or monetary contribution toward the home or the affiliate. Sweat equity is designed to meet three important goals:

  • Sweat Equity Builds Partnership: Habitat for Humanity is not only about building houses; our mission extends to uplifting families and building community. The best way for partner family and volunteers to get to know one another is to work alongside each other.

  • Sweat Equity Builds a Sense of Pride: Habitat for Humanity is not a charity, or a give away program. We offer a hand up rather than a handout. Habitat for Humanity works with, rather than for, families in need to build their own homes and a brighter future.

  • Sweat Equity Builds Skills and Knowledge: The sweat equity program is designed to offer new homeowners a wide variety of opportunities to gain skills and knowledge that will help them successfully adapt to their new home.

5. Applicants must provide proof of residency & eligibility to work in the US.

One of the following documents is accepted as proof of both residency and eligibility:

  • US Passport

  • Permanent Resident Card

  • Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)

  • Foreign Passport with temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa

  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document with a Photo ID (Form I-766)

  • Unexpired Foreign Passport with Form I-94

  • Passport from Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of the Marshall Islands with Form I-94 or Form I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSM or RMI.

If one of the above cannot be provided, one document from each category below is required:

Category 1:

  • Driver’s License

  • Federal, State, or Local Government ID Card

  • Voter’s Registration Card

  • School ID card with a photograph

  • Native American tribal document

  • U.S. Military identification card/ Military Dependents ID card

  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card

  • Canadian Driver’s License

Category 2:

  • Social Security Card

  • U.S. Birth Certificate

  • Certification of Birth Abroad (Form FS-545)

  • US Citizen ID Card (Form I-197)

  • Resident Citizen ID Card (Form I-179)

  • Unexpired Employment Authorization by Dept. of Homeland Security

  • Native American tribal document

  • Certification of Report of Birth (Form DS-1350)

  • Native American Tribal document

  • Employment Authorization document issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security