Posted: Jul 26, 2021
Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys

Habitat for Humanity has been in Key West and the Florida Keys since 1993 and is the only agency, private or public, in the Lower Florida Keys that is explicitly devoted to affordable home ownership. Over the past 27 years, Habitat Key West and the Lower Florida Keys has provided an affordable home of their own to 53 families. Home ownership - How thrilling!  These new homes are built using a combination of licensed contractors, the applicant families themselves and a devoted cadre of volunteers. Habitat makes no profit on the sales. Since 2013, Habitat has been the largest not-for-profit home builder in the world.

Habitat does not build houses FOR families

As Habitat learns that homes are confirmed to soon be under construction; i.e. all permits and permissions are approved or soon to be approved, Habitat lets it be known that they are accepting applications. Applications are made online. Applicants are screened by a Homeowner Selection Team according to specific criteria:

  1. Applicants have a need for adequate housing.
  • Current housing is unsafe, overcrowded, inadequate or too expensive (more than 30% of the household’s monthly income).
  • Must be a 1st Time homeowner
Bayside Landing

        2. Applicants have the ability to pay the Habitat mortgage.

  • Steady income as measured according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines.
  • 70% of the household income must be earned in Monroe County
  • The homeowner purchases the home with a 0% interest mortgage with monthly payments (including taxes and insurance) that do not exceed 30% of the household's monthly income.

         3.  Applicants are willing to partner with Habitat.

  • Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident and have lived in Monroe County for a minimum of 12 months prior to application.
  • Prior to home purchase and occupancy, complete approximately 350 hours of sweat equity.
  • Authorize Habitat to perform character, financial and criminal background checks.
  • Participate in education classes that focus on home maintenance and financial management.

Building within Code

Moss Landing


Habitat homes are almost always new construction and as such, Habitat homes comply with all Federal, State and local codes and construction.

  • Roofs, windows, doors and other “access points” to the interior of the home are windstorm rated according to the most recent edition of the Florida Building Code.
  • Homes comply with FEMA and Flood Zone criteria by being elevated or placed on fill that eliminates the need for elevation.
  • Energy efficient HVAC and insulation, Energy Star appliances and low-flow water use plumbing and bathroom systems.

Volunteer Programs

Volunteerism is a key ingredient to the success of Habit for Humanity. Many church, civic and military organizations volunteer their time on a permanent or part-time basis.  Among the many groups are:



For additional information on how you can make a difference for the Habitat in Key West and the Lower Florida Keys, please contact:


The Future of Habitat in Key West and the Lower Florida Keys

Bayside Landing


Habitat is always on the lookout for places to build and is generally in a constant state of building and exploring for locations to build.  Most recently Habitat has completed these projects which provided an affordable, safe and well built home for over 220 individuals:

  • 2009 - Twelve affordable rental units on Stock Island
  • 2010 – Eighteen townhomes on Big Coppitt – Bayside Landing
  • 2011 – Twelve affordable rental units in Key West
  • 2018 – Ten townhomes on Big Coppit – Loewy Landing
  • 2020 – Complete the first four of sixteen townhomes being built at Cudjoe Key – Moss Landing. Project completion date in 2022.


Habitat has a very exciting project in the initial stages of proposal and award.  Standby for the good news hopefully by the beginning of 2022.



The 2022 round of applications will open in the Fall 2021.  Notifications that Habitat is open for applications are made on Facebook, the Habitat website, in local newspapers and on local radio.  Habitat does not carry over applicants from one year to the next, every construction cycle begins with a fresh set of applications.  A family can make application as many times as they wish, even year after year if they want.


Habitat has helped more than 29 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since its founding in 1976. Volunteering your time, talent or treasure to help a fellow citizen of Monroe County to live their dream could likewise be a dream come true for you.  Call Lily and ask how you can make a difference!


If you have any comments or questions, please contact me here.

Good luck!

Additional Sources: