As we prepare to open our home to a foreign exchange student this semester, we thought we'd support an organization that involves and empowers communities to create affordable housing solutions. We recognize and understand the benefits of home ownership, and wish to see as many people as possible obtain that opportunity. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, Christian ministry founded in 1976 with the mission of building hope, dignity and self worth through the construction of quality, affordable housing. Based on information from their website, they have built more than 300,000 houses, sheltering more than 1.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities worldwide. The Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity is the third largest Habitat affiliate in the US and builds quality, affordable homes in partnership with deserving families. Charity Navigator has given the Dallas Area Affiliate a 4-star rating.
Habitat for Humanity is such a neat concept because they don't follow a "hand-out" philosophy. They prefer to "partner" with deserving families, and in essence, teach them how to help themselves with a little education and a big opportunity. Instead of a cash down payment, families contribute 400 hours of “sweat equity” by participating in the construction of the home alongside community volunteers and Habitat staff. The house is not simply given to them when it's completed; instead, homeowners are still required to pay a mortgage. However, there is 0% interest on their loan so that their payment is a manageable amount and they get the chance to build equity sooner. Their mortgage payments are then used by Habitat to build more houses. Before the process is over, Habitat homebuyers attend Homebuyer Education classes where they learn budgeting and home maintenance skills to prepare them for homeownership success.
Let me give you another reason why I respect and wish to support Habitat for Humanity. From their website, "Habitat homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group, in keeping with U.S. law and with Habitat's abiding belief that God's love extends to everyone. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat's goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world." I love hearing about organizations that acknowledge the importance of helping others, despite differences in race or religion, and open their arms to volunteers who are just looking to make a positive difference with no spiritual motives.
If you are interested in helping, there are various ways to donate. You can find out about them here, see what your money will buy here, or view their Wish List. Or, you can sign up to volunteer your time here.