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Apply for Housing

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Habitat homeowner. We believe that everyone should have a safe, affordable place to call home.

To carry out our vision, we partner with individuals and families from application through construction to when the keys are handed over.

By working with us from beginning to end, we can help prospective individuals prepare for the various responsibilities of home-ownership which includes learning about personal finances, mortgages, maintenance and much more.

Habitat’s path to home-ownership is an important and in-depth process, requiring hard work, time and dedication. But this helps to ensure the long-term success of Habitat homeowners.


Families are evaluated based on three criteria:

Ability to Pay

Income Guidelines

  • All adult family members’ income is included in the calculation of a family’s total gross YEARLY income.
  • Income shall include the following: SSI, SSDI, wages, retirement, alimony, VA benefits, and court-ordered child support.
  • Income guidelines are listed by family size. The income listed in “Max Income” may be reviewed at the discretion of the Selection Committee.
# In Household Min. Income Max Income Min. Income Max Income
1 17,812 30,534 17,028 29,190
2 20,356 34,896 19,460 33,360
3 22,901 39,258 21,893 37,530
4 25,445 43,620 24,325 41,700
5 27,481 47,110 26,271 45,036
6 29,516 50,599 28,217 48,372
7 31,552 54,089 30,163 51,708
8 33,587 57,578 32,109 55,044

Applicants Must Have:

  • A steady, reliable source of income (2-year history) and demonstrate financial responsibility
  • The ability to pay a monthly housing payment up to 30% of gross monthly income (taxes and insurance included)
  • A maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43%
  • The ability to pay projected monthly utilities (electric/gas/water/sewer)
  • NOT filed for bankruptcy within the past 2 years
  • A credit history free from outstanding collections, liens, or judgments that cannot reasonably be paid off by the completion of the home build
  • Remain financially able to obtain a mortgage from a third-party lender from the time of partnership through the transfer of ownership. TIAHFH does not offer mortgage financing. Adverse changes in the financial situation may result in deselection from the homeownership program.

For Brush with Kindness projects:

  • A down payment of $100 is required
  • Financing will be offered for approved projects at 0% interest for terms up to twelve (12) months
  • A discount of 10% or $100 will be offered if the principal balance is paid in full within sixty (60) days
  • Available for owner-occupied homes only.
  • Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity is not offering mortgage financing.

    Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity is an Equal Housing Opportunity Partner.

Demonstrating a Need

Need is determined by a family’s current living condition. Some examples of a need are outlined below (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Structural/mechanical problems in building
  • Visible holes or large cracks, leaks, hazardous/toxic materials, electrical problems, plumbing problems or lack of proper insulation
  • Inadequate sleeping arrangements: More than 2 people per room of different gender or sleeping on floors due to overcrowding
  • Unsanitary conditions or health risks (mold/mildew infestation)
  • Insect/rodents infestation
  • Temporary or transitional housing such as family currently living with relatives, family in emergency shelter or homelessness
  • Current housing does not meet the physical needs due to disabilities

Family Selection will determine if the need you provide qualifies under the needs requirements.

Willingness to Partner

Partnering families have many opportunities to show a willingness to partner. This begins from the moment you send in a prescreen. Every time a family shows up to their appointment, sends in documentation when needed and maintains their monthly status with in these guidelines, they show a willingness to partner!

With the help of volunteers, partner families help build and renovate the places they will call home. They attend financial education and budget planning classes. Some help at the local Habitat ReStore or help out in the local Habitat office. We call this “sweat equity” and you will be required to keep track of your hours.

  • Participants are required to complete a combined total of 300 volunteer hours of sweat equity prior to closing
  • 100 sweat equity hours may be completed by family and friends
  • For Brush with Kindness projects only, sweat-equity requirements are equal to 75% of the estimated project time. For example, if the project is estimated to take 40 hours the sweat-equity requirement would be 30 hours.
  • Families are required to complete the First Time Home Buyers Course
  • Hours must be completed before a partner family can purchase a home from Habitat
  • Sweat equity hours have no monetary value. If a partner family withdraws or is deselected from the home ownership program, there is no compensation for sweat equity hours.

Partnering families are proactive not passive… investing not receiving. Habitat and the families who partner with us understand that a home is a far-reaching investment. A home is a strong foundation on which the families who partner with Habitat can grow and thrive.

To Apply for a Habitat Home or Brush with Kindness

Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity is currently accepting pre-screens for home-ownership and Brush with Kindness! 

What is the difference between the Home Ownership and Brush with Kindness programs?

The Home Ownership program is a hand-up program, offering affordability subsidies to people purchasing their first home from Habitat for Humanity. This is not a free housing program. Participants must be able to qualify for a mortgage from their lending institution to purchase the house and maintain affordable monthly mortgage payments.

The Brush with Kindness program is for existing home owners. It is designed for people who own their home and need assistance with small repairs, such as replacing a handrail, fixing porch steps, replacing deck boards, or other health, safety, or quality needs on the exterior of the home (excluding roofing).

Interested in applying? Please complete the pre-screen form after reviewing the criteria above. Upon receipt, a member from our Home Owner Selection Committee will contact you to discuss any additional pre-screening information needed. Please deliver or mail forms to the office at 938 Water Street, Watertown, NY 13601.

Pre-screen forms can be obtained via the link at the bottom of this page, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have one mailed to you, or by visiting the office at 938 Water St. Watertown, NY 13601. Pre-screen forms must be completed in their entirety for consideration. Funds are limited and if multiple qualified families (or individuals) are identified, we will seek to help those demonstrating the greatest need first. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity is not a mortgage lender. Please note that TIA Habitat considers all people who participate in our program 'family'. Individuals, couples, domestic partners, people with or without children, etc. are all encouraged to apply.

To apply in Jefferson or Lewis County please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have a paper application mailed to you or you can download, print, and return the appropriate application: