What is Habitat for Humanity Housing?

Habitat for Humanity is building new homes and revitalizing neighborhoods in America. Since 1976, Habitat has helped more than 1 million people purchase or build a home that’s affordable to them.

Habitat for Humanity provides housing for families in need and is often confused with low income housing or housing for the homeless. Habitat homes are not free and homeowners are required to complete financial education courses, and mortgage repayments for their home in order to obtain one.

This article will explain the difference between Habitat for Humanity housing and other housing options.

Different than traditional low income housing

Habitat for Humanity is the world’s number one for-purpose provider of housing and improved shelter for families of lower income. However, a Habitat home is not a part of a low income housing program and operates differently.

Typically, on a low income housing program, families are eligible to live in government subsidized rental units sponsored by HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). Section 8 does allow families who earn no more than 50% the median household income in their area access to homeownership vouchers, which can be used for owning a home instead of renting. Although this is a great initiative, it is difficult to get accepted, with only 1,000-2,000 families being accepted nationally each year. Therefore, the HUD Section 8 program is typically used for renting.

Low income housing is a critical part of any strategy to combat homelessness and allows people who can’t afford their own places to live near work centers that provide food assistance programs or free public transportation. However, with the focus being on renting vs. owning, Habitat for Humanity operates on a different scale.

Focus on homeownership

Unlike traditional low income housing, Habitat for Humanity’s primary objective is to create the journey to homeownership. To be a Habitat homeowner you are required to:

  • Have a need for better housing
  • Willingness to work with us via volunteering opportunities
  • Have the ability to make mortgage repayments
  • Participate in financial education courses

These four requirements separate Habitat homeowners from others by instilling fundamentals to ensure lifelong financial wellness.

Prioritizing financial stability

Unlike organizations such as National Alliance to End Homelessness, the typical Habitat family is not homeless given the ability to make mortgage repayments is one of the four requirements to join the program.

Most Habitat families are faced with the mounting financial challenges that come with the cost of a home and are being pushed out of their existing homes due to increasing rent prices in urban areas.

Many Habitat families, such as Yiizet Tomb, are also single parents. According to a report by The American Community Survey, 30% of children in Dallas grow up in single family homes. With the mounting cost of childcare on top of homeownership, Habitat is a great resource to get those families on the path towards financial stability.

Yiizet described the lack of rent control as her biggest challenge in achieving homeownership. She said, “Our biggest challenge has been the ability to afford a three-bedroom apartment. We had to keep moving from apartment to apartment. [Owning a home] will give us more stability and we won’t have to move around anymore.”

Families like Yiizet Tomb’s drive Habitat for Humanity. No family should be forced into financial hardship because of the skyrocketing price of housing.

To learn more about the Habitat mission, visit us at https://habitat.org.