Myths (and facts) about Habitat for Humanity
Myth: Habitat for Humanity gives houses away to poor people.
Fact: Habitat for Humanity offers homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional house financing. Generally, this includes 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 in the amount of $500 to $1000. Additionally, they agree to contribute from 200 to 500 hours of “sweat equity” depending on the size of the home and family 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 a neighborhood’s property values.
Fact: Housing studies show affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have proven to increase property values and local government tax income.
Myth: You have to be Christian to become a Habitat homeowner.
Fact: Habitat homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group, in keeping with U.S. law and with Habitat’s abiding belief that God’s love extends to everyone. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.
Myth: Habitat for Humanity was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Fact: Habitat was started in 1976 in Americus, Ga., by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda. President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Americus, in Plains, Ga.), have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help 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.