Facts & Fiction

Fiction: Habitat for Humanity gives houses away to poor people.

FACT: Habitat SELLS homes to qualified families without profit with a no-interest mortgage. The average monthly mortgage payment to Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity is around $475. Habitat for Humanity offers homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional house financing. Generally, this includes those whose income is 30 to 60 percent of the area's median income. In most cases, prospective Habitat homeowner families make a $700 down payment. Additionally, they contribute 300 to 500 hours of "sweat equity" on the construction of their home and the homes of other Habitat families. Habitat houses are affordable because they are built by volunteers, sometimes with donations of land and material, and financial support from the community.

Fiction: Habitat houses reduce a neighborhood's property values.

FACT: Housing studies show affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have proven to increase property values in neighborhoods where they are built and increase local government tax income.

Fiction: Only African Americans get Habitat for Humanity homes.

FACT: Habitat builds houses in partnership with those in need regardless of race, religion or any other difference. Prospective homeowners must meet three criteria: need, ability to repay the mortgage, and a willingness to partner with Habitat.

Fiction: You have to be Christian to become a Habitat homeowner.

FACT: 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.

Fiction: Habitat for Humanity is an arm of the government.

FACT: Habitat for Humanity is not an arm of the government. Habitat is an independent, nonprofit organization that accepts some government funds and other resources to help provide houses for those in need. We accept these funds as long as they do not limit our ability to demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Fiction: Habitat for Humanity was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

FACT: Habitat for Humanity International was started in 1976 in Americus, GA, by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda. President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Americus, in Plains, GA), have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help bring national attention to the organization's house-building work. Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity, a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, was founded in 1983.