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 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 discretion of Selection Committee.
    # In Household Min. Income Max Income Min. Income Max Income
    1 *Determined 28,500 *Determined 27,864
    2 by your 32,580 by your 31,800
    3 mortgage 36,660 mortgage 35,760
    4 lender or 40,680 lender or 39,720
    5  30% AMI 43,980  30% AMI 42,900
    6   47,220   46,080
    7   50,460   49,260
    8   53,700   52,440

    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 transfer of ownership. TIAHFH does not offer mortgage financing. Adverse changes in financial situation may result in deselection from the home ownership 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 Lender.

  • 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.

    • A two-adult household is required to perform a minimum of 500 hours
    • A single-adult family is required to complete 300 hours
    • 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
    • An adult is considered anyone over 18 years old
    • 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 Brush with Kindness program?

The Brush with Kindness program is a home repair program for existing homeowners. The program may be able to help you with home repairs on the outside of your house, such as a porch, steps, railing, or wheelchair ramp. We are unable to do projects that include roof repair or replacement.

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:



Contact Us

938 Water St. Watertown, NY 13601


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