Frequently Asked Questions
Does Habitat for Humanity give houses away?
No, Habitat houses are not given to anyone. Habitat for Humanity builds houses with those-in-need, and then sells the house to homeowner partners. Because of Habitat’s no-profit, no-interest loans, and because houses are built principally by volunteers, mortgage payments are affordable for those unable to obtain conventional financing for a home. Homeowner partners are required to invest 300-500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ – time spent building their own home or other Habitat homes.
Are Habitat houses only built for minorities?
No, Habitat doesn’t build houses FOR anyone. We build houses WITH people in need, without regard to race. Three criteria drive the family selection process: need, ability to repay the no-profit, no-interest mortgage over a 15-30 year period, and a willingness to partner with Habitat. Habitat is prohibited by federal law-the Fair Housing Act-from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, family and marital status, age or handicap. Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity requires partner families to be residing legally in the U.S.
Are Habitat homeowners on welfare?
No, while some do receive public assistance, most homeowners work at low-wage jobs. Habitat for Humanity works in good faith with people who often are at risk in society. We believe that owning a home is not the answer to every problem, but can be an important step – often the first step – toward helping people break out of the cycle of poverty.
Do you have to be Christian to become a Habitat homeowner?
No, Habitat for Humanity was founded as a Christian ministry, however, homeowners are chosen without regard to creed. Habitat’s belief is that God’s love extends to all, regardless of race, creed or nationality. We also welcome volunteers from all faiths – or no faith.
Do Habitat houses lower neighborhood property values?
No, many studies of low-cost housing show that affordable housing has no adverse effect on other neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat for Humanity believes its approach to affordable housing can improve neighborhoods and communities by strengthening community spirit, increasing the tax base, and building better citizens through the cooperative efforts involved in Habitat construction.
Is Habitat for Humanity an arm of the government?
No, Habitat for Humanity International is an independent, nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry. It is not an arm of the government or an arm of any particular church denomination. Habitat does accept government funds for the acquisition of land or houses in need of rehabilitation. Habitat also accepts government funds for streets, utilities and administrative expenses, so long as the funds have no strings attached that would limit its ability to build each Habitat house as a demonstration of God’s love.
Does Habitat for Humanity have chapters in every state and throughout the world?
No, Habitat operates through locally run affiliates, rather than through chapters controlled by the broader organization. Affiliates are grass-roots organizations of local people coming together to address local needs. As such, the affiliates are independent, nonprofit organizations that operate within specific service areas in a covenant relationship with Habitat for Humanity International.
Where does Habitat for Humanity Build?
Habitat – through local affiliates – is at work in large and small cities, in suburbs and rural areas; in highly developed countries and in those with emerging economies. Because poverty housing is so widespread, Habitat’s work goes on 365 days a year in hundreds of locations throughout the United States and around the globe. More than 300,000 Habitat houses have been built around the world.
Can Habitat homeowners sell their house and make a large profit?
No, Habitat homeowners sign a mortgage and promissory note for the cost of the house. In addition to signing a mortgage and note for the purchase price, the Habitat homeowner also signs a second mortgage and note for the difference between the cost of the house and the fair market value of the house at the time of purchase. The second mortgage and note are forgiven if the first mortgage and note are paid; through the second mortgage and note Habitat homeowners may be required to give Habitat a percentage of any profit if the family sells the home. In this way Habitat families are able to purchase homes at an affordable price yet be prevented from making an unreasonable profit on them.