The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat World

Why We Build


For Habitat, “why” isn’t a question. It’s the answer. It’s why we build.

Habitat houses provide stability for families searching for a way to help themselves and their neighbors. We build so children can have healthy, safe homes where they can learn and grow to their full potential.

We build because Habitat stories don’t end when our partner families become homeowners. Arguably, that’s where they begin.

We Build Homes.


Every 7 minutes around the world, Habitat for Humanity serves a family in need of decent housing. Affordable housing solutions might differ from place to place, but to the families who dream of them, help build them and eventually inhabit them, they all add up to “home.”

Hear a song that celebrates how “The World Spins Right” when we build together.

We Build with Families.

The joy in Trisha Crandall’s voice is unmistakable. Nearly 70, Trisha has lived in an apartment for 18 years. She’s long worked two jobs and has been never sure she’d be able to own her own home. Today, just moments ago, she’s learned that the final inspection of her Habitat home is imminent. She and her son Kameron will soon be able to move in.

“The whole experience has been just a journey,” she says. “There’s no words to describe it.” But describe it she did, when Hardin County Habitat in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, invited her to speak at the affiliate’s annual volunteer appreciation dinner. What she shared speaks volumes about why we build.

What Habitat for Humanity Means to Me

Happy to be in a home and Honored to be part of such a Christian organization
Amazing what gets done in such a short time by volunteers
Blessings — too many to mention
Ideal house for us
Training Maintenance Class: learning to take care of your appliances, home and yard; Budget Class: great to be learning about financial freedom
Anxious to see if you qualify
Thankful we have been given such an opportunity
Faith people have that you can do it even when you don’t think you can
Others thinking about Others and their needs
Relationships built by working with individuals, youth groups, Collegiate Challenge groups and church groups. They came and freely gave their time and talent. I will remember them forever.
Hope for a better life. Humble: This has truly been a humbling experience
Useful things learned
Matchless, nothing like it
Abundant energy
Nice people we have met and the Nice neighborhood this will become
Important that we continue this program
Trust that with God, nothing is impossible
Yes, we are ready to move in

We Build with Faith.

Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity is a testament to what faith and hard work can accomplish. In 1992, the affiliate was little more than an idea.

“We began the organization with high hopes and not much money,” says cofounder Jerry Zinn. The fundraising process was a challenge in a community mostly unfamiliar with Habitat’s principles and practices. Board members made countless presentations to community organizations to spread the word about Habitat and how the process would work. Despite an initial lack of funds, they pressed on undaunted. That tenacity and faith paid off as they handed over the keys to their first completed home just two years later.

In the beginning, even cofounder Steve Ballard had doubts. “My all-time favorite Habitat story involves the announcement of our very first Habitat family, the O’Learys,” he says. “I was about 27 and new to the community, sitting on the board with a bunch of folks who knew more about the community and more about life than I did. But I could not stop myself from raising my hand and saying something to the effect of ‘It’s nice that we’ve done all of this work and selected a family to partner with and build our first house, but if you look at the treasurer’s report, we have no money.’

“Rich Hoefer, a man of significant religious commitment, said very firmly, but politely, ‘Steve, you just have to have faith.’

“Of course, Rich was right, we raised the money, found the supplies, partnered with the O’Leary family, and the rest is history.”

Earlier this year, Iowa Valley Habitat celebrated its 20th anniversary and the construction of its 75th house. The affiliate has expanded to include repair and winterization of existing houses and operates a ReStore in Iowa City.

Hundreds of lives have been improved because a group of people once committed to doing the work, even if they weren’t too sure they could.

We Build with Your Help.

Photo contest finalist Merrill Peterson has participated on several Habitat Global Village trips since 2006. The Carlsbad, California, resident captured this photo of a mason hard at work alongside her on a Habitat build in Sri Lanka.

Building in communities around the world since the mission began in 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families. With an average family size of five, that’s more than 2.5 million people living in safe, decent, affordable houses. Our volunteers, advocates and donors make all the difference.

With your help, we can do more.

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Join the conversation

Post on Habitat’s Facebook page, use the hashtag #whywebuild on Twitter, take the pledge at

None of my problems or personal losses could compare with those of the people who will be living in the houses we helped build that one day. Before I knew it, I had put up a peaceful and ideal home in my heart. This is why I build.

— Simon Romulo Tantoco, member of the Habitat for Humanity Youth Council

Read Simon’s full story.