Habitat for Humanity builds decent and affordable homes around the world in partnership with families in need of a decent place to live. Habitat homebuyers help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.
Habitat for Humanity homes look different around the world to fit in with the many styles and traditions found in the communities where the houses are built. But no matter where they are built, all Habitat houses follow the same guiding principles:
Habitat houses are modestly sized. They are large enough for the homeowner family’s needs, but small enough to keep construction and maintenance costs affordable.
Habitat for Humanity uses quality, locally available building materials. Habitat home designs reflect the local climate and culture.
HFHWFC constructs or rehabilitates properties for home purchase through no-interest loans. Families may qualify for this program if their income ranges within 30%-70% of HUD-established Area Median Income. They typically invest 250 sweat equity hours (250 for individuals; families must invest up to 350 hours) for the construction or rehabilitation of their own home as well as those of their Habitat neighbors. In addition, they must complete a year-long program of classes focused on skills development in household budgeting, financial management, and basic home maintenance. This comprehensive approach to affordable home ownership is designed to give new Habitat families the support and skills they need to pursue greater opportunities and make a lasting contribution to the stabilization and revitalization of their neighborhood.The labor of volunteers and partner families, efficient building methods, modest house sizes, and no-profit loans make it affordable for low-income families to purchase Habitat houses.
Habitat houses are typically built using wood frame construction, Gypsum board interior walls, vinyl siding and asphalt shingle roofs. Some affiliates also use proven alternative building materials such as adobe or straw bale construction.Our Habitat houses are modestly sized by North American standards.
Our commitment to build with people in need extends to those with disabilities. When possible, Habitat houses incorporate basic accessible design features, such as a zero-step entrance and wide passage doors and hallways. Houses built in partnership with families with disabilities include additional accessibility features.
Habitat and the Environment
Habitat is committed to resource- and energy-efficient building practices. Habitat’s Construction Technologies department provides our affiliates with construction techniques that conserve natural resources and reduce long-term costs for Habitat homeowners.
To assist Family Partners with overall cost-effective and energy-efficient living, the HFHWFC Board decided in 2010 to promote green, sustainable housing standards and, whenever possible, strive for EarthCraft certification. In 2011, our affiliate produced the first EarthCraft-certified Habitat home renovation project in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since then, all HFHWFC homes are built or renovated to EarthCraft-certified standards.