Habitat for Humanity recently gave keys to two families to Novato homes that they and the Marin community rehabilitated, allowing them to become homeowners. This makes a total of three Habitat homes in our city.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They build with people in need regardless of race or religion.
I have heard some comments since the celebration that it is too bad we can’t count these homes toward our Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers for our General Plan Update Housing Element. I couldn’t agree more, and in good news, soon we will be able to.
At the celebration, I reminded the group that AB1103 by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, will allow for Habitat for Humanity homes to count toward a jurisdiction’s RHNA numbers. Existing law allows a city or county to meet up to 25 percent of its housing needs through conversion or rehabilitation of existing units, but it did not allow for single-family homes to be counted; only buildings with more than four units would qualify. AB1103 allows for any foreclosed property that has been converted to very low or low-income housing with long-term affordability covenants to be counted toward meeting RHNA numbers.
This legislation will prove to be helpful during these tough economic times, when there has been in increase of foreclosed properties that often sit vacant and become eyesores in our neighborhoods for long periods of time. Habitat for Humanity’s great work in our community can now help us meet state requirements, and help families find safe and affordable places to call home.
Habitat for Humanity prospective homeowners must:
- Be citizens or legal residents.
- Prove steady income.
- Have good credit.
- Earn a monthly income that falls within minimum and maximum limits, depending on household size.
- Sustain a savings account over a specified period of time.
In addition, each partner family will be required to:
- Invest sweat-equity hours in building his/her home and others.
- Make an affordable down payment.
- Make timely mortgage payments.
- Attend homeowner education classes.
We now have a total of three Habitat for Humanity homes in Novato and three families we welcome as new homeowners and a part of our community.