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Home Ownership

Homeownership Requirements

  • Must have lived or worked in Cleveland County for the last 12 months

  • Must have a consistent and verifiable income in the last 12 months

  • Income source must be a US citizen or permanent legal resident

Need for Housing

  • Live in overcrowded housing

  • Live in substandard housing

  • Being a resident of public housing

  • Paying more than 30% of gross income on rent

  • Does not own a home at time of application

  • Unable to qualify for a conventional mortgage

  • School age children of opposite sex share a room

  • Adults sharing room with a child

  • More than two people share a room

Willingness to Partner

  • Household wiling to perform a minimum of 200 sweat equity hours per adult

  • Complete 12 hours of homeowner education

  • Committed to a drug-free community and no serious criminal history

  • One applicant that is working must be a U.S. resident

  • Complete an installment plan toward closing cost ($1800)

Ability to Pay

  • Income must be stable and fall between 30-80% of HUD Area Median Income depending on family size

  • Can count child support for 12 consecutive months

  • Cannot count child support if child is 16 or older


  • Estimated mortgage payment should be no more than 30% of your income. Mortgage and other debt combined should be no more than 40% of your income (debt to income)

  • Overtime, bonuses will be excluded from income

  • 10-month employees calculated for 12 months


  • Must wait two years after being discharged and reestablishing good credit to apply

General Habitat Information

What is Habitat for Humanity in Cleveland County?
Habitat for Humanity in Cleveland County is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that forms partnerships that empower individuals, families, and our community to build simple, decent housing that is affordable.    Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

Habitat’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Habitat works toward our vision by building strength, stability, and self-reliance in partnership with families needing decent, affordable housing. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.

How does it work?
Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of future homeowner families.  Habitat sells the homes to homeowners for no profit and finances the mortgage with an affordable, no-interest loan. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments enter a revolving fund for Humanity to build more houses.

Habitat is not a give-away program.  In addition to paying closing expenses and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their labor – called “sweat equity” – into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.  A single applicant must invest a minimum of 200 hours, and two applicants invest a minimum of 600 hours. Non-applicant adults listed on the application may be subject to additional sweat equity requirements.

What does it cost to build a Habitat house?
Throughout the world, the cost of Habitat houses varies.  In some developing countries, building a Habitat house costs as little as $4,500.  In Cleveland County, Habitat can build a 1200-square foot house with three bedrooms and two baths for approximately $160,000.00.

Habitat homes are affordable because no profit is included in the sales price, and no interest is charged on the mortgage.

How are homeowner families selected?
People who need decent, affordable shelter apply to local Habitat affiliates. The family selection committee selects homeowners based on their level of need, willingness to become partners in the program, and ability to repay the no-interest loan.  Habitat does business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law.  Habitat does not discriminate against anyone because of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Where does Habitat for Humanity operate?
Habitat is a grass-roots movement.  Concerned citizens unite to form a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in their community.  Local Habitat affiliates make decisions on fundraising, house construction, family selection, and other vital issues.  Habitat operates in all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide.

Putting Faith into Action
Habitat’s ministry is based on the conviction that following the teachings of Jesus Christ reflects Christ’s love in our lives by loving and caring for one another.  Our love must not be just words; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.  Habitat provides an opportunity for people to put their faith and love into action, bringing diverse groups of people together to make affordable housing and better communities a reality for everyone.

The Economics of Jesus
When people respond to human needs, giving what they have without seeking profit or interest, God magnifies our efforts to accomplish the gigantic effects.  Habitat refers to this perspective as “the economics of Jesus.”  Together, the donated labor of construction volunteers, the support of partner organizations and homeowners’ “sweat equity” work, and payments on the no-profit, no-interest mortgage makes Habitat’s house building possible.  By sharing what resources they have with those in need, Habitat volunteers and supporters have made decent, affordable housing a reality for more than 39 million families worldwide.

The Theology of the Hammer
The work of Habitat is a partnership founded on common ground that bridges theological differences — everyone can use the hammer as an instrument to manifest God’s love.  Habitat Founder and Past President Millard Fuller calls this concept “the theology of the hammer,” explaining, “We may disagree on all sorts of other things… but we can agree on the idea of building homes with God’s people in need, and in doing so using biblical economics: no profit and no interest.”

Habitat for Humanity welcomes all to build with us in partnership, without discrimination against anyone based on race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, familial status, or national origin.  “The Bible teaches that God is the God of the whole crowd,” explains Fuller.  “God’s love leaves nobody out, and my love should not either.” This understanding drives ‘the theology of the hammer’ around the world, steadily building more and more houses in more and more countries.”  Since its founding in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 39 million people improve their housing situation.

The Results
Through the work of Habitat, thousands of families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing.  Individuals, churches, community groups, and others are working together to tackle a significant social problem — decent housing for all.

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Get in Touch

Habitat for Humanity in Cleveland County
323 West Grover Street
Shelby, NC 28150

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