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Habitat for Humanity

Official Habitat for Humanity logo
Official Habitat for Humanity logo

Habitat for Humanity is an international, Christian, non-governmental, non-profit organization devoted to building quality, low-cost, affordable housing. The houses are built using volunteer labor. They are sold at no profit, with no interest charged on the mortgage. The organization was founded in 1976 in Americus, Georgia by Millard Fuller and Linda Fuller, whose vision grew out of their experiences at Koinonia Farm.

According to the official website, "Homeowner families are chosen according to their need; their ability to repay the no-profit, no-interest mortgage; and their willingness to work in partnership with Habitat. Habitat for Humanity does not discriminate according to race, religion or ethnic group."

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter became involved with Habitat for Humanity in 1984. He has since become its most outspoken proponent. He has been involved in fund-raising and publicity as well as actual home-building.

By 2003 Habitat had built 50,000 houses in the U.S. and over 100,000 overseas with Habitat groups working in 92 countries. It is predicted that Habitat for Humanity International will have built housing for one million people by 2005. In an act of corporate social responsibility, some corporations provide financial support to the project. Many churches sponsor houses and provide a large amount of the volunteers to build them from their congregations.

Habitat builds simple houses with locally appropriate materials. This could mean concrete block homes in Third World nations or poured concrete walled homes in hurricane-prone regions of the U.S. Chapters of Habitat in the United States are strongly encouraged to donate a tithe of ten percent of the money they raise for local housing to the national group for the purpose of building Third World homes. For instance, Habitat New Zealand builds one house in Fiji for each house they build in New Zealand.

In 2003 Habitat was able to build homes at an average price of less than $50,000 each in the United States by using volunteer labor and some donated material. Homeowners are usually expected to put 500 hours of "sweat equity" into their own or other project homes.

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Last updated: 10-18-2005 06:27:31
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