Frequently Asked Questions
We are in the answer business!
Habitat for Humanity has been providing answers to some of life’s toughest questions for years. We find that many any of the questions we receive are very similar in nature, so we have provided this FAQ in the hopes that we can help you find the answers you seek.
Does Habitat for Humanity give houses to poor people?
Houses are not given to anyone. Habitat for Humanity builds houses with people in need and then sells the houses to homeowner partners through no-profit, no-interest loans. Because houses are built principally by volunteers, mortgage payments can be kept reasonable to those unable to obtain conventional financing. Habitat homeowners typically have incomes that are 30 percent to 50 percent of the median income in the area. They are required to invest hundreds of hours in sweat equity, that is, time spent building their own home or other Habitat houses.
Does Habitat build fancy new houses for people in poverty?
Any newly built house is going to be a dramatic change for a family that has been living in sub-standard housing. But Habitat houses are not extravagant by any standard. Habitat's philosophy is to build simple, decent houses. Under the design criteria approved by Habitat for Humanity International's board of directors, living space in a three-bedroom house, for example, is not to exceed 1,050 square feet.
Are all Habitat homeowners on welfare?
While some Habitat homeowners do receive public assistance, most work at low-wage jobs. Habitat works in good faith with people, knowing that owning a home is not the answer to every problem but that it can be an important step, often the first step, toward helping people break out of the cycle of poverty.
Do you have to be a Christian to become a Habitat homeowner?
Habitat for Humanity was founded as and unashamedly remains a Christian ministry. Homeowners are chosen without regard to race, creed or nationality, following the requirements of the law as well as Habitat's belief that God's love extends to all. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace the goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.
Are Habitat homeowners allowed to sell their houses and make a large profit because of the original low cost?
Special second mortgages that are “paid off” by living in the house, as well as first buyback option clauses that are put into the agreements with homeowners help alleviate concerns of homeowners collecting the large amount of equity by selling their house.
Was Habitat for Humanity started by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter?
Habitat for Humanity international was started in Americus, GA., In 1976 by Millard fuller, along with his wife Linda. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help bring national and international attention to the organization's house-building work. They lead the annual Jimmy Carter work project to help build houses and raise awareness of the need for affordable housing.