The Story of Habitat for Humanity
The story of Habitat for Humanity begins in 1976 in Americus, Georgia, when Millard and Linda Fuller became concerned about the people in their area living in 'poverty housing'. Since then, Habitat for Humanity International has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 600,000 houses worldwide – providing shelter for more than 6.8 million people.
In 1985, the movement spread to Canada with the first Canadian build in Winkler, Manitoba. Two years later, Winnipeg became home to the first Canadian affiliate. Habitat for Humanity in Canada has since grown to 56 affiliates in 10 provinces and three territories and has successfully provided over 2,800 families with safe, decent and affordable housing.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa (Habitat GO) became an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity Canada in 1993. As one of 56 affiliates in Canada, Habitat GO is responsible for raising its own funds, organizing volunteers and bringing communities together to help families build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership. The first Habitat GO home was built in 1994.
Click here to read the history of Habitat GO.
Potential Habitat for Humanity partner families are low-income, working families living in inadequate housing and who are willing to put in 500 hours of "sweat equity." The Habitat model has homeowners making monthly payments on interest-free mortgages, which are 25% of their family income and includes taxes and insurance. Habitat believes that homeownership will help break the cycle of poverty facing many low-income working families.
Habitat for Humanity does not compete with other builders as Habitat services a clientele who could never afford to buy a house or qualify for a conventional mortgage.
Habitat for Humanity is funded through donations from volunteers, individuals, businesses, service clubs, foundations, manufacturers and distributors. Houses are built by volunteers, skilled trades people and journeymen who are caring individuals, enthusiastic about giving a family "a hand up, not a hand out". Manufacturers and distributors in the construction industry donate their products to help build houses and reduce costs.
The real miracle of Habitat is that it not only changes the lives of the families receiving the house, but it provides a tremendous sense of purpose and fulfillment for many volunteers and supporters.