Habitat for Humanity has become one of the most recognizable organizations in the world, with a reputation as big as their size. They provide safe and affordable housing for low-income families, and have created a sustainable business model through which they have managed to continue their work for 35 years.
HFH was started in 1976 by a single couple, Millard and Linda Fuller. They left a successful business and comfortable lifestyle to start a life of service, inspired by their Christian values. They began working by building housing for the needy in Georgia in the United States of America. They then expanded to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then called Zaire) and over the years grew into the multinational organization HFH is today. It was 1,500 affiliates in the Unites States and over 80 in international locations. It has built or repaired over 600,000 homes since its inception.
Today, Habitat works in all regions of the world not only building housing, but also providing technical assistance to families (training them to maintain their houses), providing financial assistance to low-income families, advocating housing for those in need and assisting in disaster preparation and response.
Habitat’s method is revolutionary in that it combines charity with industry, and each family contributes significant labor into building their own house. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are then used to build more Habitat houses. Volunteers make up a large part of the team construction team. Through this, donations and partnerships, Habitat has been able to funnel a huge amount of money purely towards its efforts.
Families apply to Habitat and are selected based on need. Though it is a Christian organization, Habitat does not discriminate on the basis of religion or race, and serves all communities equally.
– Farahnaz Mohammed
Source: Habitat for Humanity, New York Times