Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 with the ambitious, long-term goal of guaranteeing that every man, woman, and child on Earth is provided with shelter. Habitat is a non-profit, non-denominational, Christian organization; families, however, are not chosen based on their religion and Habitat members come from many different religious backgrounds. Habitat houses are generally simple, single-story, buildings that provide a family with a sufficient place to live. Families work alongside Habitat members on the houses and pay back the cost of the houses through interest-free loans. The loan payments are then used to build more houses. Since 1976, Habitat has built 300,000 houses in more than ninety different countries and continues to build more houses around the world.
Why is Habitat for Humanity needed?
Millions of People around the world face a housing crisis.
5.1 million American families have “worst-case” housing needs, are forced to pay more than half their income for housing, endure overcrowded conditions, and live in houses with severe physical deficiencies. While the number of families in poverty is growing, the number of affordable rental units is shrinking and most families who qualify for government housing assistance are not receiving any aid.
Worldwide, the need for affordable housing is even greater. About 2 billion people worldwide live in poverty. More than 1 billion live in urban slums and this number is expected to double by 2030. Many of these people earn less than US$2 per day.
Housing difficulties have far-reaching consequences. The high cost of housing leaves low-income families little money for other basic necessities like food, clothing, and health care. Substandard housing can endanger the health and safety of its occupants, erode occupants’ hope and self-worth, and impair children’s ability to succeed in school.
Habitat for Humanity is changing lives. Habitat for Humanity helps to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness by working in partnership with low-income families to build affordable and livable homes. To date, more than 1.5 million people worldwide live in sufficient, affordable Habitat for Humanity houses.