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Habitat for Humanity FAQs


What is Habitat for Humanity International?

Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or join Habitat for Humanity’s blog community.

How does it work?

Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses. Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor -- sweat equity -- into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.

What does a typical Habitat house cost?

The cost of houses varies from as little as $800 in some developing countries to an average of $46,600 in the United States. The cost of a Habitat House varies depending on the size of the family and location of the home. Habitat houses are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest charged on the mortgage. Mortgage length varies from 7 to 30 years.

What are Habitat affiliates?

Habitat for Humanity's work is accomplished at the community level by affiliates -- independent, locally run, nonprofit organizations. Each affiliate coordinates all aspects of home building in its area -- fundraising, building site selection, partner family selection and support, house construction and mortgage servicing. Habitat for Humanity International's headquarters, located in Americus, Georgia, provides information, training and a variety of other support services to Habitat affiliates worldwide. All Habitat affiliates are asked to "tithe" -- to give 10 percent of their contributions to fund house building work in other nations. Tithing provides much-needed funds for international building.

Where does Habitat for Humanity operate?

Habitat is a worldwide, grass-roots movement. There are more than 2,000 active affiliates in more than 80 countries, including all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.

How are the partner families selected?

Families in need of decent shelter apply to local Habitat for Humanity affiliates. The affiliate's family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families who receive Habitat houses. If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing, contact the Habitat for Humanity affiliate nearest you using the Habitat for Humanity search engine to find the names and phone numbers of affiliates in your area, or contact the Habitat help line at (800) 422-4828, ext. 2551. Your local affiliate can give you information on the availability, size, costs and sweat-equity requirements for Habitat houses in your area, as well as information on the application process.

How are donations distributed and used?

Donations are used as designated by the donor. Undesignated gifts are used where most needed and for administrative expenses.

Who controls and manages Habitat for Humanity International?

An ecumenical, international board of directors determines policy and oversees and guides the mission of Habitat for Humanity International. Board members are dedicated volunteers who share a commitment to creating affordable housing around the world. Each Habitat for Humanity affiliate is managed by its own local volunteer board.

Need more?

For additional information, visit the Habitat for Humanity contact information page. You can also write or call the Habitat for Humanity headquarters: Habitat for Humanity International 121 Habitat Street Americus, GA 31709-3498 U.S.A. (229) 924-6935.