Frequently Asked Questions
How does Habitat for Humanity work?
Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates simple, decent and affordable homes with the help of volunteer labour and donations of money and materials. In fact, we build a new home every 24 minutes. Habitat homes are sold to low-income families at no profit and financed through affordable, no-interest loans. Future homeowners also help to build their own home and the homes of others. Every day Habitat for Humanity turns hope into homes for families living in poverty housing.
Who builds Habitat for Humanity homes?
Homeowner families, board members, neighbours, friends, local and international volunteers all work together to build Habitat for Humanity homes under the supervision of a construction manager. HFH house designs must be ‘volunteer friendly’ allowing for non-skilled workers to assist with construction. Skilled paid labour help with some of the more technical finishing work such as installing the plumbing and electrical wiring.
How are homeowner families selected?
Families in need of decent shelter apply to a local HFH affiliate or community group. The affiliate’s family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to partner with HFH and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. Every affiliate follows a non-discriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing homeowner families.
What does a HFH house cost for a partner family?
HFH homes 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 seven to 30 years. Housing costs are kept low by using donated materials and volunteer labour. In some cases, Habitat for Humanity renovates existing structures to ensure a low-cost option for home ownership.
Do HFH homeowners have to be Christian?
We work to make adequate housing available to all people regardless of race, faith, gender or age. We also welcome people of all faiths as homeowners, donors and volunteers.
Is Habitat for Humanity a government organization?
Habitat is not affiliated with any government, political party or other national entity. Habitat does not accept government funds for the construction or renovation of homes. However, we encourage governments to do what they can to help alleviate the suffering of all those who have no decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity welcomes partnerships with governments to help ‘set the stage’ for the construction of houses. Stage-setting funding and gifts might include land, houses for renovation, infrastructure for streets, utilities and administrative expenses.
Where does Habitat for Humanity operate?
There are now more than 2,000 Habitat affiliates in 100 countries around the world. The local affiliate is a community group responsible for the day-to-day management of HFH’s work in the community from determining the building site to organizing local volunteers. This hands-on, grassroots approach to management gives communities new skills and leadership. These thousands of local affiliates or community groups are supported by national, regional and area offices which provide training, information resources and oversight.
The area office for Europe and Central Asia is located in Bratislava, Slovakia with a regional support office for Western Europe in Banbury, Great Britain. Other area offices are located in:
• Pretoria, South Africa
• San Jose, Costa Rica
• Bangkok, Thailand
• Americus, Georgia, USA.
For more about HFH activities in Europe and Central Asia, visit our building in Europe section. click here
Where does Habitat for Humanity’s money come from? Who are the donors?
Habitat for Humanity International receives funding from local and international donors including individuals, corporations, churches and foundations. Individuals give the highest percentage of funding to Habitat for Humanity International. These donations are combined with mortgage payments from current Habitat for Humanity homeowner families to create the ‘Fund for Humanity’. This revolving fund allows the local affiliate to keep building more and more houses.
How are donations distributed and used?
Donations, whether to a local HFH affiliate, national office or to Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), are used as designated by the donor. Gifts received by HFHI that are designated to a specific affiliate or building project are forwarded to that affiliate or project. Undesignated gifts are used where most needed and for administrative expenses. HFHI's most recent audited financial statement is available online.