Myths & Facts
Myth: Habitat for Humanity gives houses away to poor people.
Fact: Habitat for Humanity offers a homeownership opportunity to families unable to obtain conventional house financing – generally, those whose income is 30 to 50 percent of the area’s median income. In most cases, prospective Habitat homeowner families make a down payment and contribute 250 hours per adult member of the household 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.
Myth: Habitat houses reduce property values in a neighborhood.
Fact: Low-cost housing studies in the United States and Canada show affordable housing has no adverse effect on other neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have increased property values and local government tax income.
Myth: Habitat builds houses only for minorities.
Fact: Habitat builds houses in partnership with families in need – regardless of race, religion or any other difference – who meet three criteria: need, willingness to partner, and the ability to repay the no-interest, no-profit mortgage.
Myth: You have to be Christian to become a Habitat homeowner.
Fact: Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization. However, homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing.
Myth: Habitat houses allow people to move from poverty to fancy new houses.
Fact: Any newly built or remodeled house is going to be a dramatic change for a family that has been living in poverty, but Habitat houses are not extravagant by any standard. Habitat’s philosophy is to build simple, decent, and affordable homes.
Myth: Habitat for Humanity was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Fact: Habitat was started in 1976 in Americus, Georgia, by Millard Fuller along with his wife Linda. President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Americus, in Plains, Georgia) have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers helping 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.