What is Habitat for Humanity?


You may have heard of the non-profit Habitat for Humanity, but how much do you really know about them?

If you or someone you know is looking into community service opportunities, Habitat may be a great way to fulfill required hours as well as make a difference. Read on to learn the basics of what it is and how you can get involved.

What is Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that provides housing for people in need. Through 1,400 affiliates in the U.S. and 70 other organizations around the world, Habitat builds and renovates houses with the goal of providing safe dwellings for the some 100 million homeless people and families around the world.

What do they do?

Habitat builds houses, but also renovates them. With the help of volunteer groups, donations, and Habitat Restores (A Restore is essentially a thrift store for large building materials, including wood, wiring, pipe, furniture, etc.) the organization is able to give families the opportunity to live in a safe and affordable home, possibly for the first time in their lives.

How do families qualify for Habitat for Humanity?

Despite what some might believe, Habitat does not simply give away houses. In the U.S., Habitat pairs with banks to provide an affordable mortgage to families that are able to make monthly payments. Internationally, Habitat works with other organizations to provide a way for the families to pay for their houses. The families also pay for their house in sweat equity, meaning that they work alongside volunteers to build their own house. After thorough vetting of candidates in need based on variables such as their willingness to be apart of the program, income, and the family’s level of need, the families work hard to build a safe home for themselves with the help of volunteers. Former president Jimmy Carter says, “Habitat has successfully removed the stigma of charity by substituting it with a sense of partnership. The people who will live in the homes work side by side with the volunteers, so they feel very much that they are on an equal level.”

How do I get involved?

There are many ways to help Habitat’s cause, whether it is locally or internationally. Habitat Restores are always in need of donations and volunteers, and can be found locally by inputting your zip code at http://www.habitat.org/local. You can also volunteer as a school group, or on your own. Habitat also accepts donations and has positions open for group and individual advocacy. The opportunities are endless and accessible no matter where you are.

Overall, Habitat for Humanity is an organization that receives zero profits for their service, excluding the reward of seeing families get new homes. Getting involved would not only be a great way to fulfill needed community service hours, but also a great way to help people in need. Learn more at http://www.habitat.org/.

Source: Neighborhood Link - Sabrina Robinson
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