You asked, and I answered!
By Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEO
Thank you for sending me your questions about the mission of Habitat for Humanity. Your level of interest has been amazing, and I am delighted to help you understand more about the ways we bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.
I found that a number of your great questions were similar, so I am responding to 10 broader questions that I believe will cover a variety of topics.
Q: How do I find out how to volunteer?
A: All our work is done locally through our affiliates and national organizations. You can find contact information for the Habitat group nearest you by going to our website: habitat.org and clicking the “Get Involved” link.
Please remember that volunteer opportunities are not limited to construction only. We need people to answer phones and work in our ReStores. We need the professional services of accountants, attorneys, engineers, electricians, architects, plumbers and more. We also need people to develop marketing campaigns, advocate for better housing policies and raise funds, as well as people who are great at handling all the details.
Visit our website often to view a list of volunteer opportunities such as joining Global Village trips or registering to receive advocacy alerts.
If you have a heart for helping others, we can use you.
Q: What is your family selection process?
A: Habitat follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection, so neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families who receive Habitat houses.
Those seeking to become Habitat homeowners should apply to local Habitat organizations. A staff member or volunteer will explain the application process, our partnership agreement, and information on the availability, size and cost of Habitat homes in your area.
The local family selection committee chooses homeowners based on three criteria:
- The level of need
- A willingness to partner with Habitat through “sweat equity”
- The ability to repay a no-profit loan, which is placed into a revolving fund to help other families in the community
Q: How is Habitat planning for the future?
A: Habitat is making strategic plans to help more families have a decent place to live and to increase the impact of our efforts. We are in the final year of executing a strategic plan that we began in 2005, under which we have more than tripled the number of families served around the world.
Now, after a long global conversation, our board of directors has approved the next plan that will take us through 2018. It calls for us not only to help more families acquire adequate housing, but also to help strengthen communities and engage the broader housing sector. This plan will promote policies and systems that can help low-income families help themselves.
Ultimately, we want to expand awareness throughout society that adequate housing is critical for breaking the cycle of poverty. Building durable, healthy and sustainable housing is of utmost importance and continues to be our area of focus.