We empower individuals and families to become homeowners through our affordable homeownership program.

To qualify for our homeownership program and a mortgage with Habitat for Humanity, we evaluate four categories: residency, ability to pay, need, and willingness to partner.


Residency requires that you have lived in Winnebago County for at least one year at the time of application.

Ability to Pay

Ability to pay is determined by reviewing your annual income, credit report and debt to income ratio. The minimum and maximum annual incomes required for a Habitat for Humanity mortgage change yearly based on the area income. This information is released by Housing and Urban Development. For reference, see the 2022 income guidelines below.

For any questions about income limits, please contact our office. Your debt to income ratio is all your monthly debt payments including your house payment divided by your gross monthly income. The maximum debt to income ratio allowed for a Habitat for Humanity mortgage is 41%.


Need is defined as your need for adequate shelter. Our Homeowner Selection Committee will visit your current home to assess the size, condition and cost of your home.

Willingness to Partner

Willingness to partner is defined by your willingness to participate fully in the homebuying process. Homebuyers participate in the homebuying process by keeping appointments, filling out paperwork accurately and on time, and completing 200 volunteer hours during the construction of their home. 

Here are some steps we would recommend to prepare for a future application cycle:

  • Review your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report, once per year from www.annualcreditreport.com. You should check your report, review the items for accuracy, and find out what items are influencing your credit. It can take 6-12 months to establish or build your credit. Starting sooner rather than later on building your credit is highly recommended.  
  • Seek homebuyer counseling. A qualified pre-purchase counselor can help you determine your debt to income and readiness to buy a home. If you are struggling with your credit, we suggest meeting with a certified credit counselor to review your report and budget to develop a plan to improve your score. We have provided a list of resources you can contact to obtain assistance.

If you would like to be contacted with updates about our next application cycle, please fill out the interest form below. If you have any additional questions about the application process, please feel free to contact us.