Volunteers help at a Habitat for Humanity home

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Five Core Facts about Habitat for Humanity

Myths tend to get repeated and over time, they’re difficult to dispel. That’s why we’re sharing five facts about Habitat for Humanity.

Myth #1 – Habitat homes are given away.

Fact – Habitat homes are sold to partner families earning less than 80% of the area’s median income. Habitat homes are a hand up, not a handout. Habitat homebuyers must meet income requirements to pay off their homes over 15 to 30 years. Additionally, homebuyers must physically perform labor helping to build their home and other Habitat homes, putting in 200 to 400 “sweat equity” volunteer hours. Homebuyers help with all aspects of construction, from carpentry to roofing. Habitat families also volunteer in the Habitat ReStores in Newport News and Williamsburg. Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, material and labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable.

Myth #2 – Habitat homes are only sold to minorities or Christians.

Fact – Habitat buyers come from all walks of life and must meet four criteria: need, live or work in the local community, willingness to partner, and the ability to repay the affordable mortgage. No race or religion is given preference when it comes to buying a Habitat home. Habitat follows a nondiscriminatory policy of home ownership.

Myth #3 – Habitat houses reduce property values in a neighborhood.

Fact – Habitat homes meet or exceed local and federal building code guidelines. The homes are constructed or renovated using quality materials and often increase property values in neighborhoods where they are built. In addition to the increased property values, Habitat’s affordable housing model creates active contributions to the local economy in the taxes homeowners pay and the money spent in local businesses. In Virginia, new Habitat builds are energy efficient and EarthCraft-certified, meaning the buyers save on energy and resources. Habitat homes are an investment in the community.

Myth #4 – Habitat for Humanity is a government agency, funded by taxes.

Fact – Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization, not an arm of the government. We raise our funds from community partners, including individuals, local municipalities, civic groups and businesses. All funds raised are spent to help local families in need. President Jimmy Carter is a well-known volunteer, but did not start Habitat for Humanity. Habitat was founded in 1976 in Americus, Ga., by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda.

Myth #5 – It is nearly impossible to qualify for a Habitat home.

Fact – Habitat for Humanity does not keep a waiting list of people seeking homes. If you are qualified, apply during the application period! You must be willing to partner with Habitat by performing 200-400 sweat equity hours to help build your home or other Habitat homes and/or by helping at the Habitat ReStores in Newport News and Williamsburg. You must also be able to pay an affordable, zero-interest equivalent mortgage over 15 to 30 years. Click here to learn more.

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We help as many families as we can, but the lack of decent and affordable housing remains a critical problem in our area. By donating, you will provide upfront funding for building materials and services that makes interest-free loans to Habitat partner families possible. Habitat partner families help to build their own homes - alongside volunteers - and pay an affordable mortgage. Your monetary donations enable us to continue building strength, stability and independence for future local families.