What is Habitat for Humanity International?

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.

Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.

Habitat has built more than 500,000 houses around the world, providing more than 2.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. HFHI was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller along with his wife Linda.

How does it work?

Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.

Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage and escrow payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor — sweat equity — into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.

What are Habitat affiliates?

Habitat for Humanity’s work is accomplished at the community level by affiliates — independent, locally run, nonprofit organizations. Each affiliate coordinates all aspects of Habitat home building in its local area — fund raising, building site selection, partner family selection and support, house construction and mortgage servicing.

Habitat for Humanity International’s headquarters, located in Americus, Ga., USA, provides information, training and a variety of other support services to Habitat affiliates worldwide.

All Habitat affiliates are asked to “tithe” — to give 10 percent of their contributions to fund house-building work in other nations. Tithing provides much-needed funds for international building, and it also gives affiliates the opportunity to demonstrate the spirit of Christian partnership. Some affiliates in developing countries also receive funding grants from Habitat for Humanity International.

Where does Habitat for Humanity operate?

Habitat is a worldwide, grass-roots movement. There are more than 2,100 active affiliates in 100 countries, including all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico

How are the partner families selected?

Families in need of decent shelter apply to local Habitat affiliates. The affiliate’s family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan. Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families who receive Habitat houses.

If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing in Grayson County, contact Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County. If you’re not sure where a local Habitat affiliate might be, contact the Habitat help line at (800) 422-4828, Ext. 2551 or 2552.

How are donations distributed and used?

Donations to Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County are used to build homes in Grayson County. Donations are used as designated by the donor.

Donations received by Habitat for Humanity International are used where most needed and for administrative expenses. HFHI’s most recent audited financial statement is available online.

Who controls and manages Habitat for Humanity International?

An ecumenical, international board of directors determines policy and oversees and guides the mission of Habitat for Humanity International. Board members are dedicated volunteers who are deeply concerned about the problems of poverty housing around the world.

The HFHI headquarters office operates with an administrative staff, assisted by a core group of professional and support employees and supplemented by long-term and short-term volunteers. Each Habitat for Humanity affiliate is managed by its own local volunteer board.

How does Habitat work with the government?

Habitat for Humanity International is not a government agency, nor does it accept government funds for the construction of houses. However, Habitat considers all levels of government and governmental agencies important partners in its mission to eliminate poverty housing. We encourage governments to do what they can to help alleviate the suffering of all those who have no decent, adequate 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 rehabilitation, infrastructure for streets, utilities and administrative expenses.

How does a Habitat for Humanity affiliate get started?

Habitat affiliates start when concerned citizens of diverse backgrounds come together to address the problem of poverty housing in their community. These volunteers research the community’s affordable housing needs and resources, and evaluate the potential success of Habitat’s self-help model in their community. The group then applies to HFHI to become an official Habitat affiliate.

If you are interested in eliminating poverty housing in your community, please contact HFHI headquarters for information on establishing a Habitat affiliate. Persons calling from inside the United States can call (800)HABITAT — (800) 422-4828. Those calling from outside the United States may contact HFHI headquarters at 01-(229) 924-6935.

How can I become a volunteer?

See the volunteer section of this web site.

How can I get more information?

For additional information, write or phone our international headquarters:

  • Habitat for Humanity International
  • 121 Habitat Street
  • Americus, GA 31709-3498
  • U.S.A.
  • (229) 924-6935
  • publicinfo@habitat.org

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