Habitat for Humanity is planning to build its first home in Tillsonburg - if they can find an eligible family - in 2018.
"At the moment, we are looking for eligible families for 2018," said Bethany McLachlin, Family Services Coordinator and Marketing Assistant with Habitat for Humanity, London.
"They have to qualify based on their eligibility criteria, which is all available online at habitat4home.ca. We're looking for three criteria - need for housing, a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity, and an ability to pay a no down payment, no interest mortgage (household income between $33,600-$64,500)."
Selected families go through 'preparation for home ownership' education, and they do 500 volunteer hours for Habitat for Humanity, as part of their partnership. And they need to be active in media activities and events for Habitat for Humanity.
"They can read more about the specific eligibility requirements online, it's all listed. There's also a pre-application they can download and send back to me. So anyone without internet access, they can call me at 519-455-6623 extension 214.
"I'm always happy to talk to families."
A public information session has been booked at the Tillsonburg Public Library on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. More information sessions have been planned in February and March 2018.
"It is by registration so that I can plan for numbers, so if anyone would like to attend, call me to register before the end of the day on December 11."
From the pre-application, if it looks like a family might be eligible, they are invited to meet with McLachlin to receive a full application.
"It is a longer application, more involved."
The application then moves to a Habitat for Humanity selection committee, who make final recommendations to the CEO, who makes the final decision.
"Basically there are two things that will drive a build," said McLachlin. "If we have a family, then we'll look for land and do some fundraising. Or if we have land that was donated or sold to us at a very good price by the city, then we have land and we'll very actively look for a family. At the moment, we already have a family we have approved for Tillsonburg. So we're looking for another family because when we do a build, it's economical to do more than one at a time, if we can."
There is no firm deadline at this point, she said, as they are still looking to acquire the land.
"We're already pursuing the land - we have been for a while - getting that right place and having all the details in place."
McLachlin recommends applying the 'sooner the better' for interested families.
"It's a long process," she said. "Often it takes a while to gather all the documents they need. Then we review all those documents, then make a recommendation."