Some Common Myths & Questions About Habitat
Below are some common myths and questions about Habitat.
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1. Habitat for Humanity gives houses away to poor people.
Habitat for Humanity offers homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional house financing. Generally, this includes those whose income is 30-50% of the area’s median income. In most cases, prospective Habitat homeowner families make $750 down payment. Additionally, they contribute 250 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home or someone else’s home. Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, material, and labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable.
2. Habitat houses reduce a neighborhood’s property values.
Housing studies show affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have proven to increase property values and local government tax income.
3. Only those belonging to minority populations get Habitat for Humanity homes.
Habitat builds houses in partnership with those in need regardless of race, religion or any other difference. Prospective homeowners must meet three criteria: need; ability to repay the mortgage; and a willingness to partner with Habitat.
4. Habitat homeowners are on welfare.
While some Habitat homeowners may receive temporary financial assistance from governmental programs, most are working people. Typically their annual income is less than half the local median income in their community.
5. You have to be Christian to become a Habitat homeowner.
While Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, Habitat homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group, in keeping with U.S. law and with Habitat’s abiding belief that God’s love extends to everyone. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace habitat’s goal of eliminating poperty housing from the world.
6. Habitat for Humanity International dictates policy and practices for every local Habitat organization.
Local Habitat affiliates are independent, nonprofit organizations that operate within a specific service area within the framework of the Habitat Affiliate Covenant. Volunteers generally are local and the majority of money is raised locally.
7. Habitat for Humanity is an arm of the government.
Habitat for Humanity is not an arm of the government. Habitat is an independent, nonprofit organization that can accept some government funds and other resources to help provide houses for those in need, as long as these funds do not limit our ability to demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus Christ.
8. Habitat for Humanity was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Habitat was started in 1976 in Americus, GA., by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda. President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Americus, In Plains, Ga.), have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help bring national attention to the organization’s house-building work. Each year, they lead the Jimmy Carter Work Project to help build houses and raise awareness of the need for affordable housing.