Frequently Asked QuestionsAbout Us
What is Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.
How does Habitat for Humanity work?
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses. Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor -- sweat equity -- into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. Qualifying families purchase their home at cost. They must take an interest-free mortgage which they pay back over 20-30 years.
How does Habitat for Humanity find/buy houses and property?
Currently, Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity buys property or homes in need of repair using money raised through donations or mortgage payments of current Habitat partner families. Obviously, in our area, land is quite expensive, so it is a daunting task to find land that will allow us to keep homeowner payments affordable.
For some affiliates, cities and towns will donate or sell town-owned property at a discounted price to Habitat for affordable housing. In addition, sometimes houses in need of repair and renovation will be donated. Our affiliate is working on creating relationships with the towns in our service area to set up agreements and donations such as these.
How much does a Habitat house cost?
Housing costs vary throughout the country, and the world, for that matter. For Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity, the cost of building a home averages between $130,000 and $175,000. Habitat homes are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest charged on the mortgage.
How are Habitat partner families selected?
Families in need of decent shelter apply to local Habitat affiliates. The affiliate's Family Selection Committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program, and their ability to repay a no-interest loan. Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection; neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families who receive Habitat homes.
What must a family do to become a Habitat partner family?
Partner families are selected based on several criteria. Families must demonstrate financial need, have an ability to make monthly mortgage payments, and commit to volunteering at least 250 hours of volunteer labor on their own home or other Habitat projects, among other things.
What happens to a partner family's mortgage payments?
A Habitat partner family's monthly mortgage payments become part of a revolving fund, which is used to acquire property and build more homes for more partner families.
What if a partner family wants to move out of their home?
The contract a partner family signs gives Habitat the first option of buying the house back from the partner family. The partner family does not lose money in the process. Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity seeks families that are willing to make a long-term commitment to living in their homes. The contract also ensures that the homeowners are true to their partnership and protects Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity and its supporters from a short-term sale through other legal means.
Who can volunteer with Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity?
Anyone can volunteer in a variety of ways!
Can I volunteer with Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity if I don't live in the Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity service area?
Volunteers from any town are more than welcome to volunteer with Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity; however, volunteers can search for the Habitat affiliate most conveniently located to them by going to the Habitat affiliate search engine.
Do volunteers need to have special skills to work at a construction site?
Nope! People of all skill levels are welcome to help on site. Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity site supervisors provide safety and job training on the day of a build. Site supervisors work to find the most appropriate tasks for volunteers to do based on the volunteer's skills and comfort level.
What days are volunteers needed? Can I work on the weekends?
Currently, Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity construction and building occurs predominantly on Saturdays; however, we are working to include a work day during the week. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities that do not involve being on the build site. Check out our current volunteer opportunities.
Do volunteers need to bring their own tools? How about lunch? Anything else?
Tools are provided by Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity; however, if volunteers are more comfortable using their own tools, Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity recommends that volunteers make sure the tools are labeled. This will ensure the tools do not get lost or damaged. Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity is not responsible for any misplaced or damaged tools.
Lunch is sometimes provided for volunteers by volunteers, but in general, volunteers should plan to pack a lunch and plenty of water for the day. In addition, our worksites are construction areas, so volunteers should wear appropriate clothing (no open toed shoes, etc.). As well, you should plan to bring sunscreen and bug spray when appropriate.
Can youth help build?
Youth who are 16 years of age and older may help build on a construction site; however, there are a number of other ways that younger people can help. Youth can design and make site signs, window boxes, birdhouses, and other design elements that make a house a home. They can also help run a fundraising event or do public speaking at their church or school. Click here for our youth volunteer policy.
What can I do other than help build a house?
There are a number of other ways volunteers can help Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity, besides building. Volunteers can bring their expertise or talents to one of the Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity committees, prepare lunch for people on site, or simply provide donations to help Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity continue its work!
Does Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity accept donations of old or unused building materials?
YES!! Although we cannot use old or random building materials on the build site, we have a ReStore and the sale of these products will provide the funds needed to continue building and grow our capacity!!