The families that Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta serves are in an income bracket that makes them very vulnerable to the current economic slow down. Restaurant workers, labourers and administrative staff are all being laid off in large numbers as businesses contract. Already we are seeing many requests for mortgage payment relief. In order to ensure these families and their children can maintain their housing through this unprecedented period Habitat needs to be able to provide Mortgage Relief. At this time we are estimating the near term need for Mortgage Relief at $250,000.
Habitat has been successful in helping hundreds of families achieve stable, affordable housing through its home ownership program. Part of what make this housing affordable is that Habitat offers the mortgage to the family with no interest and no down payment. Many families pay less for their housing through this mortgage than they were paying in rent. Through their mortgage they are saving for the future. This changes the trajectory of a family, helping them on the path to independence. These are families who do not qualify for a bank mortgage and so Habitat serves as the mortgage holder.
In a normal year, Habitat sees a few requests for temporary Mortgage Relief and we have contingency to grant that in order to keep families in their housing. In these extraordinary circumstances we are seeing large numbers of families request temporary Mortgage Relief because they have lost their jobs. We are financially unable to accommodate all of these requests.
Habitat is in need of immediately establishing the ability to provide Mortgage Relief to help bridge our hard-working parents and their children through this period of time. This will give us a range of options, suited to families: from reducing payments, to deferring payments. This would allow us to keep our program for families in partnership and waiting for their housing to be completed to continue. This short term assistance will enable Habitat to ensure all families in need are able to maintain their housing.