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Habitat for Humanity frequently asked questions

What is Habitat for Humanity International?

  • Habitat is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry.
  • We believe that every person should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.
  • We build, renovate and repair houses all over the world using volunteer labor and donations. 
  • We welcome all people to work with us in partnership.
  • We advocate to increase access to decent, affordable housing around the world.
  • Learn more about Habitat.

Does Habitat give houses away?

  • No, Habitat for Humanity is not a giveaway program.
  • Habitat’s partner families buy the houses that Habitat builds and renovates.
    • Habitat makes no profit on the sale.
    • In the United States, Habitat homeowners purchase their houses through affordable monthly mortgage payments.
    • In other countries, Habitat also works with partner organizations to serve even more families through innovative financing methods.
  • Habitat’s homeowners also invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners.

Does Habitat only focus on building new houses?

  • No, Habitat works in a number of different ways to create decent, affordable housing.
  • In addition to new construction, Habitat also renovates existing buildings in many communities, particularly in urban areas.
  • Habitat’s A Brush with Kindness and Neighborhood Revitalization help people repair and improve their own homes and neighborhoods.
  • Our Disaster Response program also works with local communities to address a variety of housing needs after natural disasters.
  • Habitat’s partnerships and advocacy work help raise the awareness and support needed to address housing needs around the world. 

How are Habitat’s homeowner families chosen?

  • Families in need of decent, affordable shelter apply to their local Habitat organization, called an affiliate.
  • Each affiliate’s family selection committee chooses Habitat homeowners for their local area, based on three criteria:
    • The family’s level of need.
    • Their willingness to become partners in the program.
    • Their ability to repay the loan through an affordable payment plan.
  • Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection.
  • Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowner families.
  • Visit our page on becoming a Habitat homeowner to learn more.

What are Habitat affiliates?

  • Affiliates are community-level Habitat for Humanity organizations that act in partnership with and on behalf of Habitat for Humanity International.
  • Each affiliate coordinates all aspects of Habitat home building in its local area.
  • Learn more about our affiliates.

Can I donate materials?

  • Many local Habitat organizations operate ReStores, which sell reusable and surplus building materials, furniture and appliances to the public. To donate materials, contact your local Habitat ReStore.

What is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore?

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community and hope locally and around the world. Find a ReStore near you.

Where does Habitat for Humanity operate?

How are donations distributed and used?

  • We rely on gifts from individuals, corporations and other groups to fund our house-building mission worldwide. All donations of any amount are deeply appreciated and help us build more decent, affordable houses with more families across the globe.
  • Designated donations are allocated in support of the U.S. affiliate, national organization or program of the donor’s choosing.
  • Undesignated gifts are invested through the Global Impact Fund where they can have the greatest impact. The Global Impact Fund helps:
    • Design and replicate innovative programs to serve more low-income families.  
    • Build the capacity of our network of U.S. affiliates and national organizations.
    • Cover other costs necessary to ensuring that Habitat fulfills its mission with excellence.
  • Habitat’s most recent audited financial statement is available online.

Who controls and manages Habitat for Humanity International?

  • An ecumenical, international board of directors who are deeply concerned about the problems of poverty housing around the world.
  • The Habitat headquarters are operated by an administrative staff, professional and support employees, and volunteers.

How does Habitat work with the government?

  • We ask legislators and housing regulators to increase support for affordable homeownership and eliminate poverty housing.
  • We monitor public policies related to housing, community and international development.
  • We advocate for policies that will increase access to decent, affordable housing for people around the world.
  • We accept government funds as long as they have no conditions that would violate our principles or limit our ability to proclaim our Christian identity.
  • Learn more about our advocacy efforts.

How can I become a volunteer?

  • Contact your local Habitat for Humanity for volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Explore our Get Involved section, featuring a number of other ways to volunteer.