The Affordable Housing and Application Session will take place on May 5 and is open to anyone hoping to qualify for the housing program

by: JASON CHANEY - The home in the above photo is one of several purchased in Prineville through the Bend Area Habitat for Humanity home ownership program.

The Bend Area Habitat for Humanity will hold an Affordable Housing and Application Session on Monday, May 5, at the Prineville Library, for those hoping to qualify for its housing program.

Each year, the organization sells about six simple, decent, affordable homes to qualified individuals and families in Bend and Crook County. These homes require no down payment and come complete with zero-interest loans.

To qualify, potential home owners must meet income qualifications, live in Crook County, have good credit history and, most importantly, be willing to contribute significant "sweat equity" into the home.

"Individual applicants must be able to complete up to 400 hours of sweat equity," explained DeeDee Johnson, family services manager for The Bend Area Habitat for Humanity. "A couple, or family, is expected to complete up to 600 hours."

Applicants are also expected to participate in on-going homeownership education, invest in a one-year savings plan, and accept a home in a location that is within city limits.

"Bend Area Habitat does not build custom homes, but chooses the size of the home based on household size and makeup," explained Johnson. "The location of the home is dependent upon where we are building, and locations available will be discussed during the workshop."

Income guidelines for a family of four are restricted to a minimum of $21,840 and a maximum of $37,440, with amounts varying for other family sizes. Acceptable sources of income are regular working wages, social security income, earned income tax credits, permanent disability and retirement income.

Prior to attending the workshop on May 5, applicants are required to complete a preliminary questionnaire, used in determining their qualification for the homeownership program. Based on eligibility, complete applications will be available at the workshop. Attendance at the workshop is the only way a full application may be obtained.

Another important qualification criteria is an applicant's debt-to-income rate, measured as credit card payments and other bills as compared to monthly income. Those needing help with this calculation are encouraged to contact NeighborImpact for an appointment or to enroll in their homeownership and financing classes.

Johnson wants to be sure applicants understand that the process can be a long one, typically averaging 12 to 18 months.

"Applicants need to keep in mind that the preliminary application is just the beginning," she said. "It prepares people for the full application process, once it opens up."

The session is scheduled for Monday, May 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Prineville Library's Broughton Room, 175 N.W. Meadow Lakes Dr. Attendance is mandatory to receive a full application. For more information, contact Family Services Manager DeeDee Johnson at 541-385-5387 Ext. 103 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The required, preliminary application can be found at application.pdf.

Preliminary applications may be sent to Bend Area Habitat for Humanity, 1860 N.E. 4th St., Bend, OR 97701, or faxed to 541-383-1789.

For financial counseling contact NeighborImpact at 541-318-7506.

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