Habitat for Humanity fact sheet (frequently asked questions)

(Content from http://www.habitat.org/)

What is Habitat for Humanity International?
• A nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry.
• We seek to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.
• To accomplish these goals, we invite people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.
• Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda.
• Today, we have helped build over 400,000 decent, affordable houses and served more than 2 million people around the world.

Habitat volunteers and homeowners build side-by-side in New Orleans, Louisiana

How does it work?
• Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses alongside our homeowner (partner) families.
• Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor (sweat equity) into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
• Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans.
• The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.

How are 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.

What are Habitat affiliates?
• Community-level Habitat for Humanity offices that act in partnership with and on behalf of Habitat for Humanity International.
• Each affiliate is an independently run, nonprofit organization.
• Each affiliate coordinates all aspects of Habitat home building in its local area—fundraising; building site selection; partner family selection and support; house construction; and mortgage servicing.

Where does Habitat for Humanity operate?
• Habitat is a worldwide organization, operating in all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and dozens of other countries. Use our search engine to find local affiliates and connect with Habitat in your community.
• Our operational headquarters are located in Americus, Georgia, USA.
• Our administrative headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

How are donations distributed and used?
• Donations, whether to a local Habitat affiliate or to Habitat for Humanity International, are used as designated by the donor.
• Gifts received by HFHI that are designated to a specific affiliate or building project are forwarded to that affiliate or project.
• Undesignated gifts 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 volunteers.
• Each local Habitat affiliate is managed by its own local volunteer board.

How does Habitat work with the government?
• Our Government Relations and Advocacy team works with 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 policy choices that increase access to decent, affordable housing for people around the world.
• We accept government funds for infrastructure, utilities, capacity building or training, and house building. We accept these funds so long as they have no conditions that would violate Habitat’s principles or limit its ability to proclaim its Christian identity.

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 call (800) HABITAT or (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?
• Use our search engine to find your local Habitat for Humanity and their volunteer opportunities.
• Explore our Get Involved section.

How can I get more information?
Through any of the following methods:
• Explore our Contact Us page.
• Write to Habitat for Humanity International, 121 Habitat Street, Americus, GA 31709-3498, USA.
• Call 1 (800) 422-4828 .
• E-mail us with your General Questions.

© 2011 Habitat for Humanity® International. All rights reserved.
“Habitat for Humanity®” and “Habitat®” are registered service marks owned by Habitat for Humanity International.

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Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger, Advocate

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