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A Look at Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for humanity sells and mortgages its houses at no interest, and the houses cost as little as $800 in developing countries, to an average of $59,300 in the United States. Mortgage length averages 20 years (Habitat for Humanity International). There have been some foreclosures on habitat houses, although it is at a low 2%. Families are chosen without regard for race, religion, or ethnic group. To obtain a house, a family applies to local Habitat affiliates.

A family selection committee will decide on qualifying candidates based on the level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program, and their ability to repay the loan (Habitat for Humanity International). Independent, local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International are allowed to interpret these guidelines as is deemed most appropriate for the location of the affiliate (Wikipedia). Habitat for Humanity works with non-government organizations, and encourages interested institutions and individuals to work with Habitat for Humanity.

Home owners are also expected to put in about 500 hours of “sweat equity” into their home, meaning the applicant family should also participate in the actual construction of their house, or other people’s habitat homes. Habitat’s policies send a message of “worthiness”; Habitat for Humanity’s help becomes complementary to the efforts of the recipient, and the recipient does become entitled to a home simply because of poverty. Habitat for Humanity empowers poor people by helping them build a good home.

Habitat for Humanity also provides, or helps provide, for critical housing needs that results from natural disasters and civil war (Habitat for Humanity International). In the united states, Habitat for Humanity has been particularly of help to families victimized by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Habitat for humanity has demonstrated that a non-profit, non-government organization can succeed and surpass the governments efforts. Donors from around the world support Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity affiliates also raise funds locally, and affiliates give ten percent of raised funds to an affiliate abroad or to another national program. When donations have designations specified by the donor, they are used accordingly. Undesignated donations are used where most needed. (Habitat for Humanity International) Habitat does not accept government funds, because then it could not perform as it currently does, particularly in the United States and other developed countries; if it did potential Habitat home owners could not afford its homes because of federal standards for publicly supported housing.

(Husock) Habitat for Humanity does not provide houses for free, but requires payment with no interest. This ensures that Habitat for Humanity funds are stable. Payments go to the Fund for Humanity, used to help even more families obtain decent housing. (Habitat for Humanity International) A Habitat for Humanity affiliate can get started when there is enough interest in the local community in resolving the problem of poverty housing.

The community’s needs, and any other relevant information, such as the potential success of a Habitat for Humanity program, is established by this concerned group. The group then applies to Habitat for Humanity to become an official Habitat for Humanity affiliate. 1 Anyone interested in helping the poor obtain decent housing can contacc Habitat for Humanity, and Habitat for Humanity representatives will provide guidance on how to start. (Habitat for Humanity International)

Homelessness tends to be a vicious cycle, because when a person is homeless, it’s much harder to get up on his feet and find a good income. One criticism on Habitat for Humanity is that, by policy, it will not help the “dirt poor” homeless, who have almost nonexistent income. Habitat for Humanity performs credit checks, and requires that families should be able to pay back the cost of the much-needed home. Because of this, it is possible that applicants will not qualify for a home.

Some critics allege that Habitat for Humanity partners with families closer to middle class than to “dirt poor. ” (Wikipedia). There is some merit in this policy of theirs, though. , because the poor at the bottom of the economy who cannot afford habitat houses are encouraged to first “fix” their lives, to make their lives more stable and “decent”, so that by the time they are able to afford a home, the roots of the cause of their poverty is significantly reduced.

Works Cited

Habitat for Humanity Fact Sheet. 2006.Habitat for Humanity International. 29 Mar. 2006 <http://www. habitat. org/how/factsheet. aspx>. Habitat for Humanity. 2006. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 29 Mar. 2006 <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Habitat_for_Humanity>. Frequently Asked Questions. 2006. Habitat for Humanity International. 29 Mar. 2006 <http://www. habitat. org/ame/learn/faq. aspx>. Howard Husock. “It’s Time to Take Habitat for Humanity Seriously. ” 1995. City Journal. 29 Mar. 2006 <http://www. city-journal. org/html/5_3_its_time. html>.

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