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How to Qualify

Can anyone apply to be a Habitat homeowner?

To partner with Habitat to build a home, applicants must meet income guidelines (see charts below) and demonstrate: 

a need for housing  If you live in housing that is unsafe, overcrowded, too expensive, or inaccessible you can demonstrate need. Applicants impacted by systemic housing discrimination or experiencing barriers to homeownership are encouraged to apply.

a willingness to partner with us  You agree to put in 200 (single applicants) to 300 (joint applicants) hours of sweat equity, attend homeownership education classes, and maintain open and honest communication with our team. As partners, Dubuque and Jackson Counties Habitat will secure affordable financing to make sure your housing costs do not exceed more than 30% of your household income. The path to homeownership with Habitat takes an average of 12-18 months from application to closing.

the ability to pay a long-term mortgage  You have an ability to pay a long-term mortgage. You are applying for a loan to purchase a home from Dubuque and Jackson County Habitat for Humanity. You can demonstrate ability to pay up to 30% of your income for a mortgage payment because you have steady income and meet the income criteria outlined below.

income guidelines table:

Household Size Dubuque County (30-80% AMI)
1 Person $19,500 to $51,900 
2 Person $22,250 to $59,300
3 Person $25,050 to $66,700
4 Person $27,800 to $74,100
5 Person $30,050 to $80,050
6 Person $32,250 to $86,000
7 Person $34,500 to $91,900
8 Person $36,700 to $97,850

*HOME Program income limits as published by HUD in June 2023. Income limits are adjusted annually.

Income eligibility is calculated based on the applicant’s household total gross income. Gross income is before taxes and deductions.

Income from all wages are included, including SSI, SSDI, retirement, alimony, VA benefits, child support, and others.

Income guidelines are listed by household size. Review the income guidelines table to see current income guidelines. Income guidelines are updated annually, households must income qualify at time of application, through participation, and at closing.

additional qualifications:

  • I need better or more affordable housing
  • I am willing to volunteer 200-300 hours with Habitat and in the community
  • I can afford a mortgage payment up to 30% of my gross monthly income
  • I have two years of steady, verifiable income
  • I have two years of good rental history
  • My non-medical debt is less than 13% of my income
  • I can pass a criminal background and sex offender registry check
  • I can save money to pay down payment and closing costs
  • I am willing to live in Dubuque or Jackson County

We encourage you to review the Homeowner FAQs prior to applying.

Do you meet the qualifications? Signup for our Path to Homeownership interest list to stay connected.

Path to homeownership interest list


Notice: The federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age; because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program; or because the applicant has exercised in good faith any right under the Consumer Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 30580

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, age, marital status, or sources of income.