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Become a Homeowner with Help From Habitat for Humanity

Bottom Line: Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco selects hard-working families with very low incomes to partner with them as homeowners.

Home Owner_HabitatHabitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, partners with hardworking families, community volunteers and donors, to build affordable ownership homes in Marin, San Francisco and on the Peninsula. Habitat Greater San Francisco provides a hand-up, not a handout for families in desperate need of improved living conditions. This opportunity is ever more important to low-income families during these tough economic times. Applicants for homeownership must go through a thorough selection process, including a review of financial status, job history, residency, and other qualifications. Applicants must meet certain income guidelines, have good credit, a minimal level of debt, and be willing and able to perform 500 hours of “sweat equity” to build their own home. At every step of the screening process, eligible families that move forward are celebrated. Houses are sold to partner families at no profit and are financed with affordable, zero interest mortgages that never exceeds 1/3 of the family’s monthly income.

Creative Living Arrangements Help Families Cope

Bottom Line: Creative living arrangements are community approaches to keeping people in their homes.

HipHousingAs the housing crisis unravels in 2009, people are adopting innovative living arrangements that reduce expenses, make mortgages affordable, and provide steady streams of income. One example of this is shared living arrangements. In this arrangement, two or more unrelated people share a home or apartment. Each person has a private room but shares common areas. Both parties can pay rent or there can be a service exchange in lieu of money. In a service exchange, one person provides childcare, elderly assistance, or other needed duties for another person. This is a low cost way to maintain stability and protection for people who might otherwise be unable to afford housing.

Great Communities Collaborate to Promote Transit Oriented Development

Bottom Line: Through the Great Communities Collaborative, nonprofits and foundations team up to fund Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) that promote diversity in residents, incomes, and businesses.

collaborativeThe Great Communities Collaborative is a unique cooperative relationship between four Bay Area nonprofit organizations – Greenbelt Alliance, the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, TransForm, and Urban Habitat – and the national nonprofit Reconnecting America. The East Bay Community Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, and The Silicon Valley Community Foundation are also part of the collaborative.

Resources to Promote Infill Development / Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

Bottom Line: Transit Oriented Development is a smart approach to accommodate future growth in San Mateo County, and reduce our communities’ environmental impact.

TODTransit Oriented Development (TOD), sometimes called “Smart Growth” or the “New Urbanism” is an approach to planning communities which concentrates more dense, mixed-use development along transit corridors and near transit hubs. Mixed-use is usually interpreted as developing housing above commercial/retail space, but can also include residential/office use or offices combined with retail shops. On the peninsula, TOD is most appropriate when built near CalTrain stations, but TOD can also be included along major bus routes such as El Camino Real.