The interesting thing about Habitat is that it is such a recognized charity and is so closely associated with a famous President, that people falsely assume many things about it.
I’d like to dispel or clarify those assumptions:
- People assume that President Jimmy Carter started Habitat for Humanity. This is false.
Millard and Linda Fuller developed the concept of “partnership housing.” The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side-by-side with volunteers to build decent, affordable housing. In 1976, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter started building with Habitat in Georgia. This created much press and the Carters have continued to volunteer since.
- People assume that Habitat International makes a gift to Macomb County Habitat each year to support us. This is false!
Our affiliate is mandated to pay Habitat International $25,000 a year to “belong” to the Habitat family. Every dollar we spend is raised by the people who work or volunteer for us.
- People assume that a Habitat house costs about $50,000 to build. This is false!
A typical new build will cost about $140,000. That is for an 1,100 square foot home in an affordable neighborhood with a basement, three bedrooms, kitchen, bath and living room. That number does not include all labor but does include hundreds of hours of donated volunteer labor. Construction materials have risen in the last few years. It should be noted that we do not sell the home for what it costs to build, but rather, by its appraised value. In lower income neighborhoods, Habitat often loses money to build the homes, but we believe in affordable housing so that men and women can have a mortgage note that does not encumber their entire paycheck but is often hundreds of dollars less than their rental costs each month.
- People assume that we give houses away. This is false!
Every person who partners with us for a low-income home PURCHASES that home. Our bank, Level One, finances the home at an extremely low interest rate and they require only a $1,000 deposit. The partner family must enter the program with a credit score over 600, invest 250 hours of sweat equity, and save for their down payment. They also attend educational classes to prepare them for homeownership. When they are handed their keys after closing, they have truly earned the right to be a homeowner! No handouts – only “hand ups” at Habitat!
Being informed about what is real is always a good thing. Never assume anything about this charity or any others. We work very hard to serve others and we could not do it without the financial and volunteer support of so many. Thank you for caring and for reaching out.
- You are appreciated and loved. True!
With every best wish,
President and CEO