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Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 as a grassroots Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty and substandard housing worldwide. Habitat builds houses in partnership with families who qualify for home ownership based on three criteria: need, willingness to partner with Habitat and an ability to repay a no-interest mortgage. There are more than 2,100 active affiliates in 100 countries and all 50 states. Since 1981 Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West has built over 300 affordable new homes with low-income families across western St. Tammany parish. Affordable housing changes lives, you can make a difference in the lives of our home buyers by donating or volunteering.


  • Does Habitat for Humanity give homes away to low income families?
    Houses are not given to anyone. Habitat for Humanity builds homes with those in need and then sells them to homeowner partners. Because of Habitat's no-profit, no-interest loans, and because houses are built principally by volunteers, mortgage payments can be kept reasonably low to those unable to obtain conventional financing for a home. Habitat homeowners typically have incomes that are 30-60 percent of the median income in the area. They are required to invest an average of 300 hours of sweat equity-time spent building their own home or other Habitat homes.
  • Does Habitat for Humanity build homes only for minorities?
    We build houses with people in need without regard to race. Three criteria drive the family selection process: need; ability to repay the no-profit, no-interest mortgage over a 30- year period; and a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. The U.S. Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits denying anyone housing on the basis of race, sex, creed, marital status, color, or national origin. The covenant that all local affiliates sign with Habitat for Humanity International also specifies that Habitat for Humanity homeowner families are selected "according to criteria that do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or ethnic background."
  • Are most Habitat homeowners on welfare?
    While some do receive public assistance, most homeowners work at low-wage jobs. Our local homeowners include veterans, employees of local restaurants, hospitals and many other service type industries. Habitat for Humanity works in good faith with people who often are at risk in society, knowing that owning a home is not the answer to every problem, but can be an important step—often the first step—toward helping people break out of the cycle of poverty.
  • What keeps Habitat homeowners from selling their houses and making a large profit because of the original low cost?
    Special second mortgages that are "paid off" by living in the house, as well as first buy-back option clauses that many affiliates put into their agreement with homeowners, help alleviate concerns that some people may have regarding the resale of houses.
  • Where does Habitat for Humanity build?
    Habitat for Humanity—through local affiliates—is at work in both small and large cities, suburbs and rural areas, in highly developed countries and in those with emerging economies. Because poverty housing is so widespread, Habitat's work goes on 365 days a year in hundreds upon hundreds of locations throughout the United States and around the globe.
  • Is Habitat for Humanity an arm of the government?
    Habitat is an ecumenical Christian housing organization. It is neither an arm of the government nor an arm of any church or denomination. Habitat works with the government in the following ways: we ask legislators and housing regulators to increase support of affordable homeownership, we monitor public policies related to housing and we advocate policy choices that increase access to affordable housing. We accept government funds as long as they have no conditions that would violate our principles or limit our ability to proclaim our Christian identity.
  • Do Habitat houses reduce property values in a neighborhood?
    Low-cost housing studies in the United States and Canada show affordable housing has no adverse effect on other neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have increased property values and local government tax income.
  • What is the Habitat ReStore?
    The ReStore accepts donations of new and gently-used items from individuals and businesses. We sell those items to the public at prices well below retail. We use the proceeds to build Habitat homes with families in need in our community. Our ReStore is located at 1400 North Lane, Mandeville LA.
  • How do we build homes?
    •Funding is provided by generous tax-deductible donations of money and materials. Funds also come from mortgage payments of Habitat homeowners, grants and ReStore proceeds. •Habitat relies on volunteer labor and sweat equity hours completed by homeowners to construct houses. •Homes are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable no-interest loans. This is part of the "revolving fund" of Habitat, with mortgage payments going toward construction of more homes in the area. •Habitours are available for those who are interested. A Habitour is a 1-hour guided tour of West St. Tammany neighborhoods in which Habitat STW has had a significant impact. Tours are free and open to the public. Contact Leighanne Weeks at (985) 893-3172 ext 244 for more information.
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