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HFH Canada

What is Habitat for Humanity Canada?

Habitat for Humanity Canada (HFHC) was established in 1985 and now has over 41 established affiliates in nine provinces. Many new affiliates are also forming in these and other provinces. HFHC is a national organization of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical christian housing ministry seeking to eliminate poverty housing worldwide and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all walks of life to work together in partnership to help build homes with families in need. Visit the Habitat for Humanity Canada website for more information.

How does Habitat work?

Through volunteer labour, efficient management and tax-deductible 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 partnerfamilies at no profit, and financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving "Fund for Humanity" which is used to build more houses.

Habitat for Humanity is not a give-away program. In addition to a downpayment and the mortgage payments, each homeowner invests hundreds of hours of their own labour, "sweat equity", into the building of their house and the houses of others.

What does a Habitat house cost?

Currently, a three-bedroom Habitat house in Canada costs the homeowner between $50,000 and $80,000. Prices will differ slightly depending on location and the costs of land, labour and materials. In developing nations, a Habitat house costs $500 to $3,000, depending on design, materials and location.

Habitat houses are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest is charged on the mortgage. The average length of a Habitat mortgage in Canada is 20 years.

How are partner families selected?

Families apply to local Habitat affiliates. A family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need,their willingness to become partners with Habitat and their ability to repay the loan. Every affiliate follows a on-discriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families that receive Habitat houses.

How does Habitat relate to government?

Habitat does not accept government funds for the construction of new houses or the repair of existing dwellings. 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, as long as the funds have no strings attached that would violate Habitat's principles or limit its ability to proclaim its Christian witness.

Who controls and manages Habitat Canada?

The National Board of Directors determines policy and monitors operations. Board members are dedicated volunteers who are deeply concerned about the problems of poverty housing in Canada.Wilmer Martin, President & Chief Executive Officer directs the National Office with an administrative staff, assisted by a core group of dedicated long-term and short-term volunteers.

Habitat is a grass-roots movement. Concerned citizens from all walks of life come together as volunteers to form a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in their community. Fund-raising, house construction, family selection and other key decisions are carried out by local affiliates.

How are donations distributed and used?

Donations, whether to a local Habitat affiliate or to the National Office, are used as designated by the donor. Gifts received by HFHC that are designated to a specific affiliate or project area are forwarded to that area. Any undesignated gifts are used where needed in Canada and for administrative expenses. HFHC's audited financial statements are available upon request.

How widespread is Habitat for Humanity?

There are now over 1,400 active affiliates located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are also more than 800 building projects coordinated by international affiliates in 58 countries around the world.

Due to the extreme poverty found in many developing nations, Habitat affiliates overseas often receive funds for house building from Canadian and U.S. affiliates. However, international affiliates are required to raise as much of their funding locally as possible.

All Habitat affiliates are asked to tithe (to give) 10% of their unrestricted cash contributions to fund house building in developing nations. In Canada, affiliates tithe to Habitat for Humanity Jamaica.

How does a Habitat project get started?

Anyone who wants to explore the possibility of eliminating poverty housing in his or her community is encouraged to contact by E-Mail HFHC's National Office or by phone (519) 885-4565 for information. We can provide advice and practical assistance, and put you in touch with others who share the Habitat vision.

How can I become a volunteer?

Volunteer information and applications are available from HFHC's National Office. Habitat needs volunteers to work with Canadian affiliates, as well as at the National Office. Please see our affiliate and volunteer pages or call HFHC (519) 885.4565 for the name and location of the Habitat affiliate nearest you.

What can I do to help?

Get involved! Pray for the work of Habitat for Humanity. Send a donation to Habitat for Humanity Canada or your local Habitat Affiliate. Participate in Habitat fund-raising events. HFH affiliates need people to help build, to serve on committees and to spread the word about Habitat.

Call (519) 885.4565 for more information.

A wide variety of books, videos and literature are available to help you share Habitat's vision with others. Materials may be ordered by mail, phone or fax.

How can I learn more about Habitat?

Consult the "Habitat Spirit", HFHC's regular newsletter, or "Habitat World", Habitat for Humanity International's bi-monthly newspaper, for the latest Habitat developments. These publications also list a wide range of information and promotional materials including books, slide shows and video cassettes.



1998 McGill University Campus Chapter, Habitat for Humanity
3480 McTavish, #B160, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1X9 | Tel:519.398.5183 | Fax: 519.398.7372 | Email:

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