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Common Questions About Habitat

Habitat for Humanity believes that by building houses with those in need, and by working with other committed groups, the poverty housing problem can be alleviated significantly.

People might have ideas about Habitat that are not true.

Misinformation about Habitat for Humanity can create misconceptions about our partner families and the types of homes Habitat affiliates are building in their communities. When people hear the facts, many of their fears and anxieties are alleviated. Below are answers to some frequent misconceptions about Habitat.

Do Habitat houses lower neighborhood property values?

No. 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 construction.

Is Habitat part of any government agency?

No. 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.

How can building family homes solve the poverty housing problem?

Poverty housing is a huge issue. Habitat believes that by continuing to build houses with those in need, by working with other committed groups, and by putting the issue of poverty housing in the hearts and minds of compassionate people everywhere, the problem can be alleviated significantly.

How does a family qualify for a Habitat home?

Families apply and are selected based on strict criteria:
They qualify as low-income (typically 50–60% of median income) and are currently living in sub-standard housing.
They have stable employment and are able to repay the no-interest or low-interest mortgage over a 15– or 30–year period.
They are willing to partner with Habitat and are required to invest 500 hours of “sweat equity” – time spent building their own home or other Habitat homes.

Is Habitat for Humanity an equal opportunity organization?

Yes. The U.S. Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits denying anyone housing on the basis of race, sex, creed, marital status, color or national origin. The covenant that all local affiliates sign with Habitat for Humanity International also specifies that HFH homeowner families are selected "according to criteria that do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed or ethnic background."

Is Habitat for Humanity a Christian organization?

Habitat for Humanity was founded as a Christian ministry. However, homeowners are chosen without regard to creed, in keeping with legal requirements and with Habitat's belief that God's love extends to all–regardless of race, creed or nationality. We also welcome volunteers from all faiths or no faith who embrace Habitat's goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.

View our Organization Profile

Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County has a complete profile including financial information on Guidestar, a widely-respected source of information on nonprofit organizations.