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Frequent Questions

About Us

  • Question: Does Habitat for Humanity give houses to poor people?

    Answer: 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 loans. Because houses are built principally by volunteers, mortgage payments are reasonable for families 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 of "sweat equity" - that is, time spent building their own home or other Habitat houses.

  • Question: Does Habitat only build houses for minorities?

    Answer: Habitat doesn't build houses for anyone. We build houses with people in need, regardless of race. Three criteria drive the family-selection process: need, ability to repay the no-profit mortgage during a 15- to 30- year period, and willingness to partner with Habitat. The U.S. Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in the sale of housing on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, handicap, familial status or national origin. The covenant that all local Habitat affiliates sign with Habitat for Humanity International also specifies that the Habitat homeowner families are selected according to criteria that do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed or ethnic background.

  • Question: Are all Habitat homeowners on welfare?

    Answer: Like most people with mortgages to pay, Habitat homeowners must have a source of income. In the United States, the large majority of Habitat homeowners work at low-wage jobs in the service or health industry. Sometimes homeowners work more than one job to pay the mortgage. A few families are on public assistance or disability.

  • Question: Do you have to be a Christian to become a Habitat homeowner?

    Answer: Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry. However, 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.

  • Question: Is it true that Habitat houses allow people to move from poverty to fancy new houses?

    Answer: Any newly built house is going to be a dramatic change for a family that has been living in a shack, hut or rundown apartment. But Habitat houses are not extravagant by any standard. Habitat's philosophy is to build simple, decent houses.

  • Question: Do Habitat houses lower neighborhood property values?

    Answer: Many studies have shown that affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. Habitat's approach to affordable housing improves neighborhoods by strengthening community spirit and increasing the tax base while building better citizens through the cooperative efforts involved in Habitat construction.

  • Question: Is Habitat for Humanity a southern poverty program?

    Answer: Habitat for Humanity started it's ministry in southwest Georgia and Zaire, an African nation. Today, Habitat has headquarters in America, Africa, Thailand, and Costa Rica. These headquarters serve local Habitats, or affiliates, in every state in the United States, and in over 80 countries around the world. So, no. Habitat for Humanity is not a southern poverty program.

  • Question: Is Habitat for Humanity an arm of the government?

    Answer: Habitat for Humanity International is an independent, nonprofit Christian housing ministry. It is not an arm of the government, not an arm of any particular church denomination. Habitat does accept government funds so long as those funds do not affect Habitat's ability to proclaim its Christian witness.

  • Question: Was Habitat for Humanity started by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter?

    Answer: Habitat for Humanity was started in Georgia in 1976 by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda. 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 led the annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project to help build houses and raise awareness of the need for affordable housing in 1984. Since then, more than 2000 houses have been built in conjunction with Carter Work Project events.

  • Question: Does Habitat operate through chapters in states and countries throughout the world?

    Answer: Habitat does not operate through centrally controlled chapters but through locally run affiliates. Affiliates are grassroots organizations of local people coming together to address local housing needs. Each affiliate is an independent nonprofit organization that operated within specific service areas under a covenant relationship with Habitat for Humanity International.

  • Question: Does Habitat for Humanity build only in cities- or only in rural areas?

    Answer: Habitat-through local affiliates-is at work in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in highly developed countries and in developing countries.