From July 13 to August 12, Muncie Habitat opened the Homeownership application process. During this one-month period, over 200 applications were sent out, and 59 applications were completed and returned – one of the largest group of applicants to date!
The number of applications has increased significantly from other application periods. “Between Oct. 2019 – Dec. 2021 we received 104 applications and approved 14 of them, so our approval rate was 13.5% or about 1 in 8 applications was approved,” Ryan Payonk, Family Services Director for Muncie Habitat shared.
“We are continuously monitoring where we are at with our current families, construction schedule, and financial situation, and open our application as we are ready for new families to begin the program” explained Payonk. “We don’t want to approve families and then not be ready for them, so we do our best to only take applications as we are ready for families to join. While there isn’t a set schedule, we typically open the application period 1-3 times per year for 5 weeks at a time. Often late summer/fall is when we are aiming to find families for the next calendar year.”
Each application will go through an approval process – including credit checks, personal judgement searches, criminal history and more.
“So right up front the cheapest single-applicant application costs us $87.93 and the cheapest joint-applicant application costs us $110.64,” Payonk shared.
“We run all of these reports up front to give better feedback to families we deny. We could opt to run these in stages and only pay for them if we got the greenlight on the previous report, but we feel we can give denied families better feedback if we run all the reports up front. Of our 59 applications in this most recent period 11 are joint, so bare minimum we are spending $5,437.68.”
When a family is denied their application is officially closed but Muncie Habitat keeps the line of communication open with the applicants. It is very common that a family applies more than once before being an approved partner family.
“We hope the applicants connect with us to have a deeper conversation about why we made our decision, so that they have good information about what may need worked on before they apply again. For example, if a family needs to work on repairing credit, we could give specifics on what accounts were causing problems in our review process and might suggest a non-profit in town, such as PathStone, that has financial coaching and can help with credit repair. As for when a family can apply again, it just depends on when we are open for applications. We have no “must wait ‘x’ amount of time before applying again” rule, however, families may often have to wait some time before our application period re-opens,” Payonk shared.
Since 1986 Muncie Habitat has stood beside over 250 families – giving a hand UP and not a hand out – to help them achieve their dream of homeownership. YOU can help this year by sponsoring an applicant! Your gift of $110.64 will help us continue to provide feedback to ALL applicants.