Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit housing organization that provides decent and affordable housing to those most in need. Driven by a vision of the world where everyone has a safe place to call home and housing poverty and homelessness are eliminated, Habitat believes that the home is a key catalyst in helping to permanently break the cycle of poverty, allowing families to become strong, stable, and independent.
In addition to building new houses, Habitat upgrades urban slums and informal settlements, and transforms empty spaces into safe homes. Other areas of focus include access to water, sanitation, hygiene training, and emergency response in countries experiencing disasters.
Its advocacy efforts focus on policy reform to remove systemic barriers preventing low-income and historically underserved populations from accessing adequate, affordable shelter. It spreads awareness about gender inequalities and provides training in financial inclusion, land rights and inheritance rights.
The Foundation's History
The concept of “partnership housing” was developed in 1968 by the residents of Koinonia Farm, an interracial farming community in Sumter County, Georgia. The concept centers on those in need working alongside volunteers to build their houses at zero profit. New homeowners pay affordable mortgages, and these payments, combined with no-interest loans and money from fundraising, are used to build more homes. On this concept, Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller.
By 1981, the organization had already built 342 houses in 14 U.S and seven international locations, and by 2009 Habitat was ranked as the largest private homebuilder in the U.S.
Today Habitat is active across all 50 states in the United States and in more than 70 countries around the world. It has built more than 1.3 million homes and helped over 46 million people improve their living conditions.
In all countries, modest-sized houses are designed for the local setting and built with efficient methods and locally available materials, reducing costs and making maintenance easier.
Habitat’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Response program provides shelter, assistance, education and training. Its Pathways to Permanence response framework distinguishes between ‘provider’ roles with the donation of shelters and supplies alongside more sustainable ‘enabler’ roles which facilitate people as partners in their own reconstruction process.
The Neighborhood Revitalization program follows the guidelines of the customizable Quality of Life Framework, focusing first on understanding residents’ needs and subsequently empowering these residents to lead the projects they want to develop.
The WASH Program (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) aims to build water supply systems, create waste management systems and educate on basic hygiene.
The Aging in Place program helps older adults age independently at home and in communities of their choice, providing critical home repairs, modifications and community services.
Habitat ReStores accept donations and sell a wide inventory of high-quality merchandise to the public at a fraction of the retail price, while diverting reusable household items and building materials from area landfills. Sales of donated items fund Habitat for Humanity projects in the local community and around the world.