Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit Christian organization working to eliminate substandard housing worldwide by building, rehabilitating, and preserving simple, decent houses for families in need. It also advocates for fair housing policies and provides training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. It was founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that such shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller in Americus, Georgia. Since that time, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses. Habitat for Humanity’s work is organized at the local level by more than 1,900 affiliates worldwide. Affiliates coordinate house building and select partner families. Each local affiliate tithes a percentage of money raised locally for building additional homes in developing countries.
Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations will not proselytize. Nor will HFH work with entities or individuals who insist on proselytizing as part of their work with HFH. This means that HFH will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must adhere to or convert to a particular faith or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.
For more information on Habitat for Humanity International, go to www.habitat.org.
Myths & Truths
Myth: Habitat give houses to needy families.
Truth: Houses are not given to anyone. Habitat builds houses in partnership with qualifying families, using as much donated materials and labor as possible. Habitat then sells the houses at no interest and no profit, making them affordable for many low-income families. The monthly payments that are made go toward the building and renovating of other Habitat houses.
Myth: Habitat only builds houses in partnership with minorities.
Truth: Habitat builds houses with people in need, regardless of race. Three criteria drive the family selection process: need; ability to repay the no-profit, no-interest mortgage; and willingness to partner with Habitat. All local Habitat affiliates sign a covenant with Habitat for Humanity International that specifies that Habitat homeowner families are selected “according to criteria that do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed or ethnic background.”
Myth: Habitat builds houses only for people who are married or have children.
Truth: Habitat does not build houses for anyone. We build houses with people in need, regardless of whether or not they are married or have children. 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.
Myth: Habitat houses lower neighborhood property values.
Truth: Habitat firmly believes its approach to affordable housing improves neighborhoods and communities by strengthening community spirit and increasing the tax base while building better citizens through the cooperative efforts involved in Habitat construction.
Myth: You have to have a traditional job to become a Habitat homeowner.
Truth: Habitat is open to all families who do not have adequate housing and are willing to be partners with us in regard to fulfilling sweat-equity requirements, faithfully making their house payments, and sincerely desiring to become a Habitat homeowner.
Myth: You have to be a Christian to become a Habitat homeowner.
Truth: Habitat 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.
Myth: Habitat is only willing to partner with perfect families.
Truth: Selections are made in faith. The perfect family does not exist, but families with great needs are in great abundance. Our calling from God is to help truly needy families, and so very often these families have many problems, not all of which are related to shelter.
Myth: Habitat homeowners sell their houses and make a large profit because of the original low cost.
Truth: Special second mortgages that are “paid off” by living in the house, as well as first buyback option clauses that many Habitat affiliates put into their agreement with homeowners help alleviate concerns that some people may have regarding the resale of houses.