Frequently Asked Questions

Read through some of the answers to the questions we receive most about the Housing Development Alliance and our work in the community.

What is the Housing Development Alliance (HDA)?

The Housing Development Alliance is a nonprofit affordable housing developer serving four counties in rural southeastern Kentucky. For 30 years, we have served thousands of low-income Appalachian families by providing affordable new homes, home repairs and home rehabilitations, rentals, housing counseling, home energy savings, credit counseling services, lending services, contract services, and more.

What does the Housing Development Alliance (HDA) do to help the people of East Kentucky?

We work with multiple organizations on the local, state, and federal level, as well as in the private sector, to break down barriers so that low-income individuals and families can access the resources they need in order to build financial stability and achieve homeownership. In addition, our work in the region creates jobs, invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in the local economy, redevelops neighborhoods and communities, and empowers eastern Kentucky families.

How does HDA work?

The Housing Development Alliance offers multiple affordable housing services to qualifying low-income individuals and families in the four counties we serve in East Kentucky (Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, and Perry). *When funding allows, we also offer programs and services in Floyd County.* Families and individuals can submit requests for housing help in new home construction, home repair, and affordable rental homes. HDA also offers additional services in lending, housing counseling, and credit counseling. Once someone registers for housing help, our program staff checks to see what assistance the individual or family qualifies for, and if they qualify, we begin putting together an assistance package for them.  

Where are you located?

The Housing Development Alliance is located in the Appalachian Mountains, in the eastern region of the state of Kentucky. Our office is located at 2871 North Main Street in the city of Hazard (Perry County). We’re just across the street from The Mother Goose, a nationally famous local landmark. 

Are your services only available in certain counties? If so, which ones?

Yes. Currently, HDA serves four counties in eastern Kentucky: Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, and Perry. When funding allows, we occasionally offer our services in Floyd County, and we’re hoping to expand our service area to include Floyd County soon.

If you are in need of housing services but do not live in a county we serve, please click here to see a list of our sister organizations throughout the state and region.

What all do you have to do in order to get a home built or have a home repaired?

The first step is to submit our online request/registration form! Submitting the form doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed assistance, but it does mean that you’ll be able to complete an intake with us and find out if you qualify for our program. Once you have registered, someone will contact you about next steps. Visit our Homeownership Program page to learn more about what to expect, or our Home Repair Program page to find out more about its process. 

If I submit the online form, does that mean I'm guaranteed to get a new home or the home repairs I need?

Unfortunately, not every low-income person or family who signs up for housing help will qualify for our program. That’s because our programs are funded by state and federal programs that each have their own guidelines for qualifying that must be met. We try, in every way possible, to work with each individual or family to help them qualify and meet the requirements.

What are the qualifications for being accepted into your program?

There are no uniform or “one size fits all” qualifications when it comes to qualifying for a new home or for repair work, as every case is different. We do consider multiple areas such as debt to income ratio, gross monthly income, your credit score, and your ability to repay a loan. If any of these areas do not meet our qualifications, we can work with you through our counseling services to help get you where you need to be to qualify. An ideal applicant would have a debt-to-income ratio around 25%, gross monthly income of at least $1,650 per month, a credit score near 690, and a positive history of loan repayment.

What income levels do you help? Do only very low incomes qualify?

We primarily serve low-income families in eastern Kentucky, but recently, we have expanded our programs to offer some services to middle-income families, who are often also in need of housing help but can’t get any assistance from state or federal programs. Often, a family will just assume that they won’t qualify for our services, but we strongly suggest that every family explore the options and check to see if they do or not. We’ve had instances where a family thought they were middle-income, but were actually low-income, and a family who thought they didn’t make enough money to be low-income, but they did!

For reference, we use HUD income requirements. The link explains each income level and what income range defines a household as very low, extremely low, low, and median/middle-income. We realize that this can be confusing, so please call us if you need our Housing Counselor to explain it to you.

How do you register/sign up for housing help?

Registering and requesting assistance from HDA is easy!

For our Homeownership Program, simply fill out this online form. That doesn’t complete the process (an intake with more paperwork will follow), but that’s your first step!

If you’d rather not fill out an online form, click here to email our Homeownership staff.

If you are sending correspondence to our Homeownership staff by postal mail, send to: ATTN: Rebekah Vermillion, HDA, Inc., P.O. Box 7284, Hazard, KY 41702.

You may also call our Housing Counselor at 606-436-0497, and she will assist you. Another option is to schedule an in-person visit to fill out any forms in our office.

If you’re looking for an Affordable Rental Home or if you are an individual in need of Section 8 Housing (apartments for extremely-low income individuals), please call our office at 606-436-0497 as you’ll need to fill out a separate form(s).

For Home Repair, you can request repairs by filling out this online form. It may take a few days to a week for one of our Home Repair staff to contact you, but rest assured that they will.

If you’d rather not fill out an online form, click here to contact our Home Repair staff. 

If you are sending correspondence by postal mail to our Home Repair staff, send to: ATTN: Max Temple, HDA, Inc., P.O. Box 7284, Hazard, KY 41702.

You may also call our office 606-436-0497 for assistance. Another option is to schedule an in-person visit to fill out any forms in our office.

Is there an application fee?

No, there’s no fee. But there are some fees you’ll need to pay when your application form is processed. These fees vary depending upon who finances your mortgage.

How long will it take before you know if someone is approved/if someone qualifies?

It varies based on each individual case. Sometimes, we’ll know within hours or days to weeks as to whether you qualify for our program or not.

Then, for Homeownership, it typically takes about 3 months for us to work with your lenders to set up an affordable home loan package, submit your paperwork to the funding sources, and get you qualified for a loan. If you have to work on your debt or credit, the process could take longer.

For Home Repair, it depends on how quickly you respond and send in requested documents to our staff. Once they determine if you qualify for assistance, you’ll be placed on our list for a home visit. After the home visit, our staff will work to see if our funders will fund the project. 

Are HDA houses free?

No, that is not how our program works. We help every individual and family who qualifies for our program purchase a home that is affordable for them. Our main goal is the empowerment of the family through homeownership, which creates financial stability, opportunity, and self-responsibility. We not only want you to have a home, but we also want you to be able to manage and maintain that home so that you may live there forever.

Does HDA only build houses?

HDA works in various ways to create high quality, affordable housing in the communities we serve. In addition to new home construction, HDA:

  • rehabilitates existing homes in many of our mountain communities
  • repairs homes for qualifying low- and middle-income families
  • works with local government to make emergency home repairs in the event of natural disasters, if funding allows
  • invites partnerships with local city and county governments to replace dilapidated structures with new homes
  • provides affordable rental housing and develops affordable rental units
  • raises awareness and support for affordable housing through advocacy efforts locally, throughout Kentucky, and nationally

Find out more about our work here.

Can you buy an HDA house that has already been built?

The funding we have available is intended to build new homes for HDA clients; however, occasionally, there are instances when a family changes their mind or decides to move out of the area. If that happens, we do sometimes offer homes for sale. HDA sells these homes to qualifying low-income families in our area. This means that the family would have to sign up for our Homeownership Program the same as any family who is having a home built by us. There is funding available through other programs that may be able to help you purchase an existing home. If you find a home you want to buy, we’ll be happy to help you contact the appropriate people.

Homes built by our Hope Building Program are sold on the open market, which means that anyone can apply to purchase the homes regardless of income. You can find out more about those houses here.

What if you have bad credit but want to have a home built through HDA or want to purchase an HDA-built home that's for sale?

This is perhaps the number-one fear for most folks looking to buy a home or who are interested in reaching out for housing help from HDA. More often than not, they think their credit is just too bad, or they’re concerned about being embarrassed. Let us put your mind at ease right now: please don’t feel that way! You have got to start someplace, and that place is HDA. The Housing Development Alliance is prepared to work with you to improve your credit so that it will not keep you from qualifying to own a home. All of the different programs we work with have different credit standards. At the minimum they all require that you have “current credit,” which means no accounts in collection and all your bills are currently being paid on time. We will help you devise a plan to improve your credit so that you can become eligible for a home loan.

What if you don't own any land, or what if the land you do own is not "build ready"?

You don’t have to own a piece of land already in order to qualify for our Homeownership Program. The Housing Development Alliance can include the cost of buying land and developing it in the total loan amount. Land development can include: drilling a well or connecting to city water, putting in a septic system, graveling a driveway, and grading the land into a house seat. Our Land Specialist routinely scouts available land locations throughout our four-county area and can show you available lots in the county or counties you’re interested in having a home built. 

Do you repair mobile homes/trailer homes? Will you move a trailer for a client?

Yes, we do! The same rules apply to mobile/trailer homes as they do to stick-built homes. Chiefly, the home must be owner-occupied. That means that you must own the home, and you must live in it. There are other requirements to consider, but we have made many repairs to trailer homes over the years.

As for moving a trailer home, that is a more complicated issue. Moving a trailer automatically decreases the value and can cause further damage. If the trailer cannot be moved safely and without damaging it to a location on your property, then we would advise against it.

Does HDA "fix up" houses, trailers, or apartments for people to move into/live in?

No, we can’t help people repair a home or apartment to move into or help set up a mobile home. That would be a misuse of our funding.

How much does a new home built by HDA cost? What will a monthly house payment be?

The total cost of a new home can include any of the following:

  1. Buying Land
  2. Water (city or well)
  3. Sewer (city or septic tank)
  4. Grading, gravel, sidewalks, etc.
  5. Costs of closing the loan
  6. Construction of the house

The cost of the first five items on this list varies greatly from project to project, and it is difficult to estimate an average cost. However, most of our clients pay between $90,000 and $125,000 for their homes.

Monthly payments are based on what each homeowner can afford, the total cost of the project, the size and location of the home, and interest rates. Normally, a monthly payment is around 20% to 30% of your gross monthly income. Similar HDA houses with different monthly payments could be due to one homeowner having a more expensive project cost or being approved for their loan at a higher interest rate or for a longer term. HDA ensures each loan is affordable for each homeowner so that everyone has an opportunity to own a home without the fear of struggling financially.

Clients purchasing Hope Building homes will pay more. Find out more about those homes here.

What is the average interest rate on an HDA home loan?

The interest rate on your loan will be between 3% and 8%. However, most of our clients receive an interest subsidy, which lowers the monthly payment to an affordable level. Based on your income and the program guidelines, the interest you pay will be between 0% and 8%. The average interest on an HDA client’s home loan is currently between 1% and 3%.

How much do HDA home repairs typically cost?

While the repairs we make are not free, we make repairs at an affordable price for the homeowner. That means that costs vary. It also means that the scope and size of the project will differ, depending on what is most needed by the homeowner and what they can afford. Our program uses funds from many sources, each having its own set of guidelines and requirements. Most of our clients receive a combination of loans and grants to finance the repairs on their home. HDA works directly with the homeowner to make sure their monthly loan payment is as low as possible and is manageable for them.

What are the most common home repairs you make?

The top three home repairs HDA makes are 1) the addition of porches and ramps (accessibility repairs), 2) roof repair, and 3) bathroom replacement.

What does HDA mean when it says it "rehabs" or "rehabilitates" homes?

Most of the homes in our region were built before 1989. Because of that, many of these homes have outdated sources of heating and cooling and are in need of significant repairs. Through grants and loans, HDA offers home rehabilitation or “rehabs,” which means that we offer an affordable way for homeowners to make two or more significant repair projects on their homes. The funds help make their homes safer, perform needed repairs, reduce utility costs, weatherize their homes, and bring their homes into compliance with building codes. Home rehab allows homeowners who might not otherwise be able to afford necessary repairs to maintain a safe and healthy living environment. Owners can use these funds to bring a property up to code, tend to electricity or plumbing issues, repair the roof and floor, or make upgrades that enhance the home’s energy efficiency or accessibility. Home rehabilitations can help prevent the displacement of low-income households who otherwise may struggle to keep their home in livable condition.

To see if your home qualifies for this service, please contact us or submit this online form.

How long does the whole process take (i.e., when can I expect to move into my new home or when can I expect my home repairs to be finished)?

Homeownership: The entire process from beginning the application to move-in day varies with each situation. Normally, the range is from 10 to 12 months.

To break this time period down: it takes about 3 months for us to work with your lenders to set up an affordable home loan package, submit your paperwork to the funding sources, and get you qualified for a loan. It takes about 2 months for us to buy a piece of land (if necessary). Then, it takes about 5 months for us to build a house. So, on average, it takes just under a year before you are actually ready to move into your new home. If you have to work on your debt or credit, the process could take longer.

Home Repair: It varies with each situation. HDA receives a large volume of requests for home repairs, and we must work through those as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Once a homeowner moves through the qualification phase, it all depends on the size of the project and the timing of when funding comes through. Our staff will give you an estimate on the duration of the project once it is ready to begin.

Please note that with the flood disaster of 2022, it may take longer for your project to get started and/or be completed. 

Does HDA buy and sell land?

We do! Our Land Agent routinely views and inspects available properties in our service area, and our executive leadership team determines if the property is one we wish to pursue. Landowners wishing to sell property are welcome to contact us, and we’ll send our Land Specialist out to view the available land, if that is agreed upon.

Our chief interest is always in purchasing land to develop for our clients, whether that’s for a client in our Homeownership Program or for other needs related to our programs and services.

When we sell land, it’s typically as part of a client’s home loan package. We include the cost of buying the land and developing it in the total loan amount.

Does HDA rent homes and/or apartments? If so, how do you apply for one? Are any available?

Yes, we do! The Housing Development Alliance rents several homes in Perry County; however, we have very low turnover in our rental units. We are working to provide more rental units in the future. You can keep up with the availability of rentals here and on our Facebook page. We also offer Section 8 Housing for extremely-low income individuals in our High Street Apartments (located in downtown Hazard).

Do you help single mothers/single fathers?

Yes! All of the same rules and income restrictions apply to single folks as they do to married ones. HDA follows the Fair Housing Act and is an Equal Housing Lender. Find out what that means here.

Do I have to include my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner on the application?

If you are purchasing the home by yourself, then you should not include them or their income as it may put you in financial risk should either party decide not to help in the repayment of the loan. If it is a joint venture for you and your significant other and you understand the risks and benefits of the loan, then we can accept another name as a co-signer.

What do you do if someone is homeless? Can HDA help?

At the present time, HDA does not offer a homeless shelter or transitional housing, but we do offer Section 8 Housing, which is a possibility for some folks experiencing homelessness. If you are homeless or know someone who is, please contact us about this option. If we can’t offer housing help to you, we will connect you to other agencies in the community who may be able to help.

How do you volunteer for the Housing Development Alliance (HDA)?

There are many ways to volunteer! HDA has opportunities for State & National Volunteers, who come from outside of our service area, and for Local Volunteers, who come from the counties we serve (Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, and Perry). You can: 

  • volunteer locally
  • travel to East Kentucky and build
  • volunteer as part of a group
  • volunteer as part of an event

Visit our Volunteer pages to learn more!

What kind of donations does the Housing Development Alliance (HDA) accept?

HDA depends on our funders and financial donations to make our work possible. The funding and the gifts we receive from our donors help eastern Kentucky families have homes they can afford and that they can take pride and comfort in forever. To find out more about how to support our work, please visit our Giving pages.

We also have a special program called Hope Building, which offers paid, on-the-job training in home construction to men and women in recovery. This is a three-year, grant-funded program that is currently in its second year. The program builds homes that are then sold on the open market. Proceeds from the sale of these homes fund the training and is intended to help us continue the program beyond the life of the grant. To donate materials or to support the program financially, please email our Hope Building Director.

HDA also accepts financial donations and donations of goods and services (in-kind gifts) from Foundations and Corporations, as well as materials and services from local businesses which can be donated via our Gifts In-Kind page.

For vehicle donations, please visit our Donate A Vehicle page.

If you’d like to know more about Planned Giving and leaving gifts of support to HDA in your will, please email our Director of Development & Communications.

How are donations distributed and used by HDA?

HDA relies on donations from individuals, foundations and corporations, event sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and others from across our region and all over the country to help Appalachian Kentucky families in need of safe, high quality, affordable homes. All donations of any amount are deeply appreciated.

Restricted donations (donations marked for a specific purpose) are used for a program, project, or event of the donor’s choosing.

Unrestricted donations are invested in our Annual Fund and are used towards our greatest needs and where they will have the most impact. HDA’s Annual Fund helps us build the capacity of our organization, expand our programs to serve more low-income families, and cover all of the necessary costs to ensure that we achieve our mission with great success.

Over 92% of our funding is spent directly on our programs and services that impact the families of our region.

Click here to see our Annual Report, 990s, and most recent Financial Statements.

Find out how to support HDA’s work here.

Is the Housing Development Alliance a Christian organization?

The Housing Development Alliance is not affiliated with any religion or religious group. As a local nonprofit affordable housing developer, we serve all people and invite all people to serve with us. We welcome folks from all backgrounds, races, and religions, and we believe that our values of kindness, serving others, and treating others the way we’d like to be treated is in agreement with the basic teachings of most, if not all, religions around the world. 

Do you currently have any jobs available?

Our job openings are posted on Indeed and Facebook. We also post them here on our website. If you have questions, please call us!

Are HDA and Hope Building the same thing? What is Hope Building?

No. Hope Building is a program offered by HDA, which means it’s part of HDA. Sometimes, people confuse Hope Building with the work we do in home building, which is understandable.

Hope Building is a grant-funded program that provides paid, on-the-job training in home construction to men and women in recovery. Basically, this program is offering a paid year of training to 6 men and women who have been referred to us by either Hickory Hill Recovery Center, Knott County Drug Court, or Perry County Drug Court. (We hope to expand this list of partners who refer trainees to us in the future.) Our 6 trainees work for HDA, build their resume with us, receive college certificates from Hazard Community & Technical College, and in addition to a solid work reference from us, they get assistance seeking employment after leaving our program from EKCEP. It’s an amazing partnership, and one that offers hope to those who strive to stay in recovery.

How is HDA governed?

HDA’s work and its executive director are overseen by a board of directors. The board meets monthly at HDA’s headquarters in Hazard, KY.

HDA is led by its executive director, and its headquarters is operated by the executive leadership team and HDA staff.

You can find out more about HDA Leadership here.

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