EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Eyewitness news has teamed up with the Evansville Otters to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

It’s called the house the otters built sponsored by eyewitness news. Over the past few weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of the people working on that house.

Eyewitness news’ Brandon Bartlett takes us inside the application process to see what it takes to become a habitat homeowner.

Evansville’s habitat for humanity receives more than 500 applications a year from people wanting to become new homeowners.

A very small percentage of those people will actually make it all the way through the process.

“People think you know that we’re just building homes and giving them away and there’s nothing further from the truth. And it really, our families are motivated. They are motivated to get an affordable home because it is such a crisis in our community. Probably I think it’s like 40% of our population struggle with housing insecurity.”

The process of applying to be a habitat homeowner is very simple. All it takes is filling out an application. Habitat officials will then determine if that person meets the organization’s three criteria.

“The first being their need for housing. The second being their ability to pay for that home and then the third being their willingness to partner with us by doing those 300 sweat equity hours.”

Sweat equity is something unique to habitat for humanity. Once a person is accepted into the program, they immediately get to work in order to meet their 300-hour requirement.

“It can be out hammering nails on their homes helping to construct it. We also require community involvement, so going to neighborhood association meetings, volunteering at United Caring Services or some other non-profit in the community. We encourage them to be involved in the neighborhoods that they’re going to be living in, so that community involvement is considered sweat equity. Working out at our Restore is also a component of sweat equity.”

Once they meet that requirement – that usually takes about a year — and their home is built – the homeowner then buys the home from habitat.

“Their mortgage payment is normally somewhere between $350 to $400 per month and when you compare that to what it costs to rent a two-bedroom home in Evansville which on average is $800 a month.”

Habitat has a goal of building 20 homes a year making the Evansville affiliate one of the top performing affiliates in the country.

For more on the requirements and to get an application just contact Habitat for Humanity of Evansville.

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(This story was originally published on July 18, 2019)