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HFH International

What is Habitat for Humanity International?

Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all faiths and walks of life to work together in partnership, building houses with families in need. Habitat has built more than 60,000 houses around the world, providing more than 300,000 people with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

How does it work?

Through volunteer labor 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 partner families at no profit, financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments are recycled into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses.

What does a Habitat house cost?

Currently, a three-bedroom Habitat house in the United States costs the homeowner an average of $38,000. Prices will differ slightly depending on location and the costs of land, professional labor and materials. In developing nations, a Habitat house costs $500-$5,000, 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 charged on the mortgage. The average length of a Habitat mortgage in the United States is 20 years. Internationally, mortgage length varies from 7 to 30 years.

What is "sweat equity?"

Homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor - "sweat equity" - into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. Sweat equity reduces the monetary cost of the house, increases the personal stake of the family members in their house, and fosters the development of partnerships with other people in the community. The amount and type of sweat equity required of each partner family vary from affiliate to affiliate--300 to 500 hours per family is common.

How are the partner families selected?

Whether in the U.S. or overseas, families in need apply to local Habitat affiliates. The affiliate's family selection committee considers applicants' level of need, their willingness to become partners in the Habitat program and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat homeowner families.

If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing, contact the Habitat affiliate nearest you. If you are not sure where a local Habitat affiliate might be, use Habitat's search engine to find the names and phone numbers of affiliates in your area, or contact the Habitat help line at (912)924-6935, ext. 551 or 552.

Where does Habitat for Humanity International operate?

There are now more than 1,300 active affiliates located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There also are more than 250 international affiliates coordinating some 800 building projects in 56 other countries around the world.

Habitat is a grass-roots movement. Concerned citizens from all walks of life come together as volunteers to form a Habitat affiliate in their community. Fundraising, house construction, family selection and other key decisions are carried out by the local affiliates. HFHI headquarters, located in Americus, Ga., provides information, training, support and other services to Habitat affiliates worldwide.

How are donations distributed and used?

Donations, whether to a local Habitat affiliate or to HFHI headquarters, are used as designated by the donor. Gifts received by HFHI headquarters that are designated to a specific affiliate or building project are forwarded to that affiliate or project. Any undesignated gifts are used where most needed. HFHI's most recent audited financial statement is available upon

How are Habitat projects funded in developing countries?

Due to the extreme poverty found in many developing nations, Habitat affiliates in developing countries often receive funds for house building from HFHI. All Habitat affiliates are asked to "tithe" -- to give 10% of their unrestricted cash contributions to fund house building work in developing nations. However, international affiliates raise as much of their funding
as possible locally.

Who controls and manages Habitat for Humanity International?

An ecumenical, international board of directors determines policy and monitors operations in conjunction with a board of advisors. Board members are dedicated volunteers who are deeply concerned about the problems of poverty housing around the world. HFHI headquarters operates with an administrative staff, assisted by a core group of clerical and support employees and supplemented by long-term and short-term volunteers. Each Habitat for Humanity affiliate is managed by a local volunteer board.

How does Habitat work with the government?

Habitat does not accept government funds for the construction of new houses or for the renovation or repair of existing houses. Habitat does accept government funds for the acquisition of land or houses in need of rehabilitation. Habitat also accepts government funds for "stage-setting" infrastructure needs (streets, sewers, etc.) so long as the funds have no strings attached that would violate Habitat's principles or limit its ability to proclaim its Christian witness.

How can I get more information?

For additional information, see the other sections of the HFH International website, e-mail your questions to public_info@habitat.org , or write or phone the international headquarters:

Habitat for Humanity International
121 Habitat Street
Americus, GA 31709-3498
(912) 924-6935



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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