You are here

Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) Frequently Asked Questions

What is SHOP?

The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program is a competitive, HUD-funded grant program that encourages the development of affordable housing using the “self-help” or “sweat equity” model. Habitat for Humanity International competes with other nonprofit housing organizations for SHOP awards, and U.S. Habitat affiliates, in turn, compete for the funds awarded to Habitat International.

The affiliates selected for the program may use SHOP funds only for land acquisition and/or infrastructure improvements. Costs related to house construction are ineligible. The affiliates must also use the funds as leverage to secure the additional funding necessary to build affordable homes on the improved sites or acquired land. The average amount of SHOP assistance per unit cannot exceed $15,000.

After receiving SHOP awards, affiliates have 24 months to spend all the funds, build the homes and sell them. Program participants must also comply with federal requirements throughout the grant term.

What is the money used for?

In addition to land and property acquisition, SHOP funds can be used for infrastructure improvements such as:

  • Utility hookups and connections including water, electric, gas, telephone and sewage lines.
  • Wells and waste disposal systems.
  • Impact fees.
  • Streets, streetlights, curbs, roads and city/county sidewalks.
  • Surveys.
  • Engineering fees.
  • Site preparation, including grading, razing, deleading and asbestos removal.

Where are SHOP funds being used?

SHOP funds have been used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. See a map of the states that are currently using SHOP funds.

Indian River Habitat for Humanity in Vero Beach, Fla., has received SHOP funds on an almost annual for 13 years. Staff members credit SHOP for helping it grow from 23 homes in 2000 to more than 300 today. The affiliate’s strategic plan to develop more affordable housing in the years ahead will be difficult to achieve without funding to help with the high costs of land and property acquisition and infrastructure improvements.

How have SHOP funds benefitted communities?

SHOP funds benefit communities because they:

  • Create employment and on-the-job training opportunities, especially for low-income persons living in the areas where SHOP-assisted projects are located.
  • Create contracting opportunities for Section 3 business concerns.
  • Improve a community’s infrastructure. HFHI has transferred more than $100 million in SHOP funds to affiliates for infrastructure improvements since 1996.
  • Require one-time capital expenditures for land and construction that boosts revenue to local businesses and governments.
  • Generate recurring revenue streams to local businesses and governments through Habitat household spending, property taxes and continued spending by the affiliates.
  • Give low-income persons the ability to afford homeownership, providing stability for individuals and families and strengthening the communities where they live. About 70 percent of all SHOP-assisted Habitat homebuyers earn incomes that are at or below 50 percent of the area median income.