Habitat for Humanity Lansing is looking for seven new families to assist in its homeownership program. Applications are now being accepted and orientation sessions will be held in the Habitat offices during the first week of March.�

A few Habitat guidelines from their press release:

"Here are three basic requirements for our homeownership program: need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner.

"Need:�The applicant must be living in substandard housing. We determine the home's substandard status by looking at if it is overcrowded, in poor repair, in a bad neighborhood, unsafe or unsanitary, or overpriced. If the applicant is living with friends or relatives, or if he/she is homeless, we would also take that into consideration. The applicant must be a resident of Greater Lansing for at least one year (some exceptions do apply)

"Ability to Pay: Habitat homeowners must be low income but still able to afford a Habitat mortgage payment. We use a scale of 30-60% of the median income for�Ingham�County�based on family size. For example, in 2009, a family of four is required to make $20,100-$40,200 per year in verifiable sustainable income. In addition, we do a credit check to make sure the applicant is responsible with his/her credit—we don't expect it to be perfect, but we do want to see that payments are made on time and bills aren't in collections. Applicants must have improved credit for two years after the discharge of bankruptcy or the end of redemption after foreclosure.

"Willingness to Partner:�The applicant must be willing to partner with us in our mission. All homeowners are required to do "Sweat Equity"—that's work on their own home and other Habitat homes and projects. A single-adult family must do 300 hours of Sweat Equity; a two-adult family must do 500 hours."

For more information, contact Ashley at Habitat Lansing at (517) 374-1313 ext. 21 or email Partner@habitatlansing.org.