Greater New Haven Habitat for Humanity

FAQ

What volunteer opportunities are available?

  • Construction volunteering (sites vary)
  • ReStore volunteering (286 South Colony Road, Wallingford)

When does construction take place?

Construction takes place year-round, Tuesday to Saturday, between the hours of 9:00am and 3:30pm. Volunteers are asked to sign in no later than 8:55am. Please register and schedule a date to volunteer through Volunteer Up. (Currently, Saturday availability is limited for individual and non-sponsor group volunteers.)

What’s the ReStore?

The Habitat ReStore is a donation-based retail store. Proceeds from sales are used to support Habitat building projects in New Haven County. Volunteers age 16 and older assist with customer service, store organization, basic furniture repair, and many other tasks. Retail or merchandising experience is welcome but not necessary.

Is there a minimum age for volunteering?

16 is the minimum age requirement for working on site and at the ReStore. No one under the age of 16 is allowed on a Habitat construction site. This is a Habitat International regulation.

Volunteers under the age of 18 must complete a waiver of liability form that must be co-signed by a parent or guardian.

What do volunteers do on site?

Volunteers perform a huge range of tasks, depending on the stage of construction. On the day you volunteer you could be assisting with interior demolition, framing, porch building, installing windows, insulating, tiling, sheetrocking, painting, siding, landscaping, site clean up or anything else that helps get the house built and ready for occupancy.

Some of the work is menial and grubby. We ask that volunteers be willing to undertake the tasks assigned to them. If you are wary of heights, please alert the construction staff when you sign in so that they can plan accordingly.

I’m unskilled, does that matter?

While we welcome skilled volunteers and want to encourage those in the building trades to join us on site, the majority of our volunteers have few construction skills. Numerous volunteers remain with us on a long-term basis and volunteer regularly in order to build skills. We will train you in all aspects of construction with the hope that you will continue to volunteer, and even perhaps share your skills with unskilled volunteers in the future.

What day(s) can I volunteer?

The construction schedule is Tuesday through Saturday. Individual volunteers may sign up for weekday dates; Saturdays are reserved for house sponsor group volunteers.

ReStore hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10:00am-6:00pm and Friday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm. Half day shifts are available on all days. Volunteering at the ReStore is a great opportunity if you are able to volunteer only on Saturdays.

Please register as a volunteer through Volunteer Up to see what dates are available on the calendar.

How physically demanding is volunteering on site?

Volunteers should be reasonably physically fit and prepared to do the work that is planned for the day. Some tasks are more physically demanding than others. It is important that all volunteers communicate to the construction supervisor any concerns they may have about particular tasks, such as climbing ladders or working with power tools.

What kind of commitment is Habitat asking for?

Habitat needs volunteers who are able to make a regular commitment. Many of the weekday volunteers work one or two days a week, and many regular Saturday volunteers work two to three Saturdays a month. Other volunteers, particularly students, work intensively for blocks of time. We encourage volunteers to make a substantial commitment to working with us.

Can I get a ride to and from the site?

We do not provide or arrange transportation. Volunteers must have a vehicle on site because the construction staff sometimes needs to relocate them to a different work site. The staff is not able to transport you!

Please pay attention to No Parking signs. Yes, the City tows!

Do I need to stay for the entire day?

We ask that volunteers work the entire day. On weekdays, it may be possible to negotiate an earlier finish time (e.g. to pick up children at the end of the school day). However, the 9:00am start time is firm.

The ReStore offers full- and half-day shifts, as well as a student shift Tuesday through Thursday, 3:00-6:00pm.

What if I need to cancel?

Cancellations do happen, but it is important that they be minimized. Keep in mind that once you make a reservation, our construction and ReStore staffs plan accordingly. If you need to cancel, please do so as soon as possible through your Volunteer Up account. This will enable another volunteer to fill the vacancy.

How are volunteers supervised?

HfHGNH has a professional construction staff. Each site has a construction manager who works alongside the volunteers and provides training and general supervision. The members of the construction staff are highly skilled carpenters who are used to working with skilled and unskilled volunteers.

The ReStore has a manager and assistant manager who supervise volunteers.

What do I need to bring to the site?

Construction volunteers need to bring lunch or money for take-out and plenty of water to drink throughout the day. In addition to plenty of water, sunscreen is also very important during the summer months.

Construction volunteers should wear clothes that can get dirty and are appropriate for the weather. Heavy-soled shoes (athletic shoes are fine) are also important. No open-toed or open-backed shoes (e.g. clogs, crocs, Birkenstocks, etc.) are permitted. We recommend volunteers bring work gloves and safety glasses to the site, and if possible, basic tools such as a hammer, measuring tape, pencil, and utility knife. Tools should be labeled with your name or easily identifiable.

ReStore volunteers must dress appropriately for a retail setting. Jeans are acceptable as long as they are clean and have no holes or rips. Close-toed shoes are essential. Clothing should be comfortable and provide good coverage. Underwear should never be visible. Please do not wear clothing with messages or crude/offensive language.

How do I get started?

Visit Volunteer Up to register and schedule a date and to read the necessary paperwork. If you have questions, please contact Ellen McNally, Habitat Volunteer Coordinator, at (203) 785-0794 or emcnally@habitatgnh.org.