Frequently Asked Questions
What is Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate poverty housing by building simple, decent, affordable houses for people in need, which helps revitalize neighborhoods. Habitat was founded on Christian principles, but we welcome partners from any faith–or no faith–who are willing to pick up a hammer to help improve the lives of families needing decent shelter.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven, Inc. works in partnership with individuals, foundations, corporations, small businesses, congregations, schools, civic groups and more than 2,000 volunteers annually to accomplish this mission.
How long has Habitat for Humanity been in New Haven?
The New Haven affiliate was founded in 1986. 2016 was our 30th anniversary.
Where are most of your homes located?
We build primarily in New Haven, most recently in the Fair Haven and Hill North communities. These neighborhoods remain a focus for development work, along with scattered site projects throughout the Greater New Haven area. Habitat’s goal is not only to create individual homeowners, but also to contribute significantly to neighborhood revitalization. By concentrating efforts on neighboring blocks, Habitat has had a dramatic impact on the character of the neighborhoods in which it works.
We have also built two homes and restored one historic home in Hamden. In 2003 we assumed control of the Wallingford Habitat for Humanity and built two homes there in 2006.
How does Habitat work?
Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat builds or rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Homeowners are required to contribute 400 hours of “sweat equity” toward building their own and their neighbors’ Habitat houses. Houses are purchased from Habitat at or below cost via a 0% percent interest, 25-year mortgage, creating affordable homeowner mortgage payments.
How are partner families selected?
Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven serves families who earn 30-60 per cent of area median income and who would have no other way to own a home of their own. In addition, Habitat is the only non-profit housing developer who takes into account a family’s current living situation when selecting families for its program. Habitat seeks to lift families out of substandard, overly expensive or overcrowded conditions.
The family selection committee considers applicants’ level of need, their willingness to become partners in the Habitat program and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. Habitat is an equal opportunity housing provider and considers applicants without regard to race, religious preference, gender, handicap, familial status or ethnicity. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have a United States Permanent Resident Card (green card).
Visit the Homeownership section of the website for eligibility requirements for our program.
What does a Habitat house cost?
Currently, a three-bedroom Habitat house in New Haven costs us $120,000 to construct. We sell our homes to qualified homebuyers for an average of $95,700. Habitat houses are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest charged on the mortgage. The family pays closing costs of approximately $3,500-4,000. The average length of a Habitat mortgage is 25 years.
What is the average cost of housing in New Haven?
An average three-bedroom house costs $120,000. In New Haven, a three-bedroom apartment rental averages $950 and up.
The average monthly mortgage, taxes and insurance for a three-bedroom Habitat home is less than $750.
Does Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven use government funds?
Government funds are not used for building Habitat homes. Government funds are occasionally used to acquire property. These funds comprise less than 10 percent of Habitat’s annual operating budget, with the remainder coming from local donors.
Who funds Habitat?
The largest portion of our funding comes from individuals who believe that access to affordable homeownership opportunities should be a matter of conscience. Other funds come from local businesses, faith groups, corporations, foundations and civic organizations.
How does Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven differ from Habitat for Humanity International?
Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven is one of more than 1,400 active affiliates in the United States. There are more than 550 international affiliates in 90 other countries around the world. Every Habitat affiliate is independently incorporated and locally governed and is affiliated with Habitat for Humanity International.