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Frequently Asked Questions:

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women build pic.jpg

Does Habitat for Humanity give houses to poor people?
Houses are not given to anyone. Habitat for Humanity partners with future homeowners to build their houses and provide a mortgage that is actually affordable. Because of Habitat's no-profit, no-interest loans, and because houses are built principally by volunteers, mortgage payments can be kept reasonable for those unable to obtain conventional financing for a home. Habitat homeowners typically have incomes that are 30-60% of the median income in the area. They are required to invest an average of 250-300 hours of sweat equity - time spent building their own home or other Habitat homes.

Are Habitat homeowners all on welfare?

While some do receive public assistance, most homeowners work at low-wage jobs. Habitat for Humanity works in good faith with people who often are at risk in society. Home-ownership can be an important first step toward helping people break out of the cycle of poverty.

Do you have to be a Christian to become a Habitat homeowner?

Habitat for Humanity was founded as and remains a Christian ministry. Because of our belief that God's love extends to all, and requirements of the law, homeowners are chosen without regard to race, creed, or nationality. We also welcome volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who can actively embrace Habitat's goal of eliminating poverty housing around the world.

Will Habitat houses allow people to move from poverty to fancy new houses?
Any newly built house is going to be a dramatic change for a family that has been living in substandard housing. However, Habitat houses are not extravagant by any standard. Habitat's philosophy is to build simple, decent homes. Under house design criteria approved by HFHI's board of directors, living space in a three-bedroom home is approximately 1,050 square feet.

Do Habitat houses lower neighborhood property values?
Many studies of low-cost housing show that affordable housing has no adverse effect on other neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat for Humanity believes its approach to affordable housing can improve neighborhoods and communities by strengthening community spirit; increasing the tax base; and building better citizens through the cooperative efforts involved in Habitat constructions.

Is Habitat for Humanity a Southern poverty program?
Habitat for Humanity International started in the southern United States and remains based in Americus, GA. It is a global partnership, however, drawing families in need together with volunteers and resources to build simple, decent houses all over the world. Habitat currently has approved work in 89 countries.

Is Habitat for Humanity an arm of the government?
Habitat for Humanity International is an independent, nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. It is not an arm of the government, nor an arm of any particular church denomination. Habitat does accept government funds for the acquisition of land or houses in need of rehabilitation. Habitat also accepts government funds for streets, utilities, and administrative expenses, so long as the funds have no strings attached that would limit its ability to build each Habitat house.


Does Habitat for Humanity only build in poor countries?
Habitat operates through locally run affiliates, rather than through chapters controlled by the broader organization. Affiliates are grass-roots organizations of local people coming together to address local needs. As such, the affiliates are independent, nonprofit organizations that operate within specific service areas in a convenient relationship with Habitat for Humanity International.

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