Manual: Family Partnering Committee Overview

The goal of the Fuller Center is to provide families in need with decent homes in decent communities. The Family Partnering Committee is a fundamental part of assuring successful homeownership for the partner families.

Partnership Agreement

The Partnership Agreement constitutes the understanding between the family and the covenant partner that will result in the construction and sale of the new home. The Partnership Agreement should include a good faith estimate of the cost of the finished house, the term of the mortgage with explanatory language about it not bearing interest or earning profit, and an explanation of the sweat equity requirement. The letter should bear the signature of the Board President with an acknowledgement and acceptance signature by the buyer/s. The Partnership Agreement represents a contract between the covenant partner and the homebuyers. On small repair or renovation projects the Partnership Agreement should explain the Greater Blessing program concept, in which there is no mortgage or other legal obligation. A sample form can be found in the appendix.

The goal of the Fuller Center is to provide families in need with decent homes in decent communities. The Family Partnering Committee is a fundamental part of assuring successful homeownership for the partner families.

Once the application has been approved by the Board, the work of the Family Partnering Committee begins. The Partnering Committee serves as the liaison between the family and the covenant partner, provides the family with financial, homebuyer and life skills training; monitors the family’s sweat equity component; and works with the family to resolve late payment issues.

Family Partnership Responsibilities

The Family Partnership Committee reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for planning and carrying out the covenant partner’s family support programs. Duties include:

  • Helping the homeowner understand the process and to manage expectations by explaining the relevant Fuller Center program policies such as construction design criteria

  • Working with the family and the Construction Committee in design issues to meet any special needs;

  • Identifying a person to serve as a family advocate to serve as a liaison to communicate needs or concerns the partner family may have during the process but may be reluctant to share with covenant partner representatives

  • Preparing the families for potential media exposure;

  • Tracking the progress of the sweat equity

  • Developing a schedule of training programs for Fuller Center policies, household finance, credit and financial literacy, and home maintenance, and recruiting a faculty to provide the training Assignment of a family advocate to maintain one-on-one contact and support between committee meetings

  • Supporting the family in preparation for the mortgage closing process

  • Working with the Board to develop late payment policies and procedures and working with families who become delinquent;

  • Preparing a Homeowner’s Manual with sections dealing with sweat equity compliance, mortgage information, family budgeting and household maintenance.

  • Continued partnership by follow up visits, invitation’s to participate in other Fuller Center activities and building projects

The Family Partnership Committee works closely with the Building Committee and the Volunteer Committee to make sure that the family has opportunity and support for earning sweat equity and so that the volunteers have the opportunity meet and to work alongside with the partner family.

Large covenant partners may hire a family services staff person to coordinate partnership efforts, however, this employee should not replace the role of the family advocate.

Sweat Equity

Sweat equity is one of the foundational principles of our housing ministry. It creates the platform for partnership, helps foster pride in homeownership and provides an opportunity for families to develop new skills and knowledge. Sweat equity is essential to eliminating the charity of a handout and provides the dignity of a hand up. Sweat equity coupled with mortgage or repair loan payments that are affordable distinguishes The Fuller Center from many other charitable and government housing models. The benefits of sweat equity include helping keep construction costs down, providing the family with a heightened sense of ownership in their home, and providing skills that will be helpful to the family in the future maintenance of their home.


The covenant partner policy about the number of hours should be uniformly required for all partner families. The standard 350-500 hours for a new house has been a successful model, some covenant partners may decide to set a policy that makes allowances for single parents such as 200 hours per adult living in the house. All sweat equity hours should completed before closing or completion of the repair project. Sweat equity should involve meaningful tasks and personal interaction with volunteers and covenant partner leadership.


Repairs and Greater Blessing projects create an interesting policy decision because there is such great variation in the types of work required. Some projects, like repairing a porch and painting, offer work opportunities, but other essential repairs such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing and wells and septic tank repairs require professional contractors. A one day project is harder to quantify than a project that may take a month. The covenant partner may chose a formula based on a set number of hours based on the estimated cost, or they may build flexibility in their repair sweat equity requirements that is more task driven than a set number of hours. Homeowners can be encouraged to earn sweat equity hours on other family projects when work is available.


It is recommended that covenant partners not reduce the number of hours required for families who are elderly or disabled, but instead come up with a way to expand the types of opportunities available to those who have special needs. If construction work is not a possibility there may be office work, serving meals to volunteers, assistance with fundraisers and other opportunities. It is also acceptable to expand the number of hours that can be earned by relatives on behalf of a person with special needs.


Accelerated build events create great energy, media attention and attract sponsorships for the event. However, it is important to plan ahead creating opportunities and ample time for families to earn the majority of their sweat equity hours before the actual build. Families should be selected 6-12 months ahead of an accelerated build.

Homeowner Education

Homeownership is an important step in lifting people from poverty, but it requires pride of ownership along with the skills necessary to manage finances, pay for the mortgage and properly maintain the house. We have found that in every community the knowledge to provide homeowner education already exists. Successful family partnering requires your Committee to organize and mobilize your local experts or to find an existing program that will benefit your families.

Homeowner education courses should include:

  • Fuller Center history and philosophy

  • Becoming a Fuller Center Homeowner

  • Budgeting and Saving Skills

  • Avoiding predatory lenders, Pay Day loans and other high interest loan offers

  • Homeowner Maintenance

  • On site orientation of the home systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC, Appliances, wall and flooring care, lawn and exterior maintenance)

  • Being A Good Neighbor

  • Mortgage and Closing Documents

  • Shopping for Insurance

  • Wills

(Complete Family Selection and Family Partnering manual in Word format)

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