Saturday, August 13, 2011

About Habitat and the National Capital Region

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'. Internationally, Habitat for Humanity now operates in 100 countries, has built over 200,000 houses, and shelters 1 million children and adults around the globe. A new Habitat home is built every 24 minutes.
Habitat for Humanity Canada now has affiliates in every Canadian province and Territory. To date, volunteers and Habitat families have built over 1500 houses across the country.
Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region (Habitat NCR) became an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity Canada in 1993. As one of over 70 affiliates in Canada, Habitat-NCR is responsible for raising its own funds, organizing volunteers and building homes for low income working families living in the National Capital Region. The first Habitat NCR home was built in 1994.
Habitat NCR is a volunteer, nonprofit, faith-based housing organization that builds simple, decent, affordable homes and sells them with no interest mortgages to low income working families seeking an affordable home in which to raise their children. People of all faiths and cultures are warmly welcomed by Habitat NCR.
Potential Habitat for Humanity 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 approximately 25-30% of the family income and includes taxes and insurance. Habitat believes that home ownership will help break the cycle of poverty facing many low income working families.
Habitat does not receive direct government funding, although indirect support is received in some communities through land donations, the reduction of municipal service costs or government grants. 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.
Habitat is a non-discriminatory organization, inviting people from a broad spectrum of social, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds to work together.
Habitat is not a giveaway program, but a joint partnership venture involving community and corporate donors, prospective homeowners and volunteers. Low-income families are offered a “hand up not a hand out” partnership. Families and volunteers are co-workers on an equal footing, contributing from their own experience for the good of all.
Sweat Equity
“Sweat equity” is the unpaid labour invested by each Habitat partner family. The family assists in the construction of their own homes and those of other prospective Habitat homeowners by contributing 500 hours of labour. This arrangement reduces cost, increases pride of ownership and fosters positive relationships.

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