Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

This section is designed to help give you a better sense of what it’s like to volunteer with Habitat Philadelphia. Don’t hesitate to contact our Volunteer Coordinator (215 765 6000 x10 or volunteer@habitatphiladelphia.org) if you’d like more information about anything you see (or don’t see) here.

Before You Get Started…

Do I need to have construction skills?
No, we do not require previous construction experience—just a willingness to work hard, learn, and be flexible. But if you do have construction experience (like carpentry, electrical, dry-walling, etc), we encourage you to utilize it on site with us!

Is there a minimum age for volunteering?
All volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. Youth ages 16 and 17 are not permitted to use power tools or work more than 10 feet off the ground. All volunteers ages 16 and 17 must bring a Minor Release Form signed by a parent/guardian when they come to site.

How do I sign up to volunteer?
Please take a few minutes to review our informational PDF here, which details our mission, volunteering guidelines, and the need for affordable housing in Philadlephia.  You can begin the volunteer registration process here.  Or if you've volunteered at our affiliate before, go ahead and sign up for another shift here.  

What if I don’t see openings on the schedule?
Hundreds of volunteers contribute their time to Habitat Philadelphia, and based on our current needs you may not see any availability on the days you’d like to work with us. Keep checking the schedule! We open build days on a rolling basis, so staying updated will give you a better chance of signing up for days you prefer.


What to Expect, and How to Prepare

What will I be doing?
It all depends! We appreciate your flexibility and openness to all aspects of building; you’ll find out about the day’s projects once you arrive at site. What we’re working on depends on the current phase of house construction, so you could be doing anything from demolition to drywall hanging to landscaping. Your flexibility is the most important thing to bring with you to the work site…remember that all jobs, no matter how “glamorous,” are equally crucial to a well-build Habitat house!

What is the time commitment asked of volunteers?
We work from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. We ask that volunteers arrive on-site promptly at 8:30am for our safety orientation. In order for our projects to be successful, we need volunteers to commit to the entire day.

Can I come late or leave early?
We ask for a full day’s commitment from volunteers so that we can keep up with our construction schedules and meet project deadlines. Arriving on site by 8:30 am will ensure that you are included in the day’s plans and receive all the training you need. Late arrivals and early departure make it hard for us to successfully finish the day’s agenda.

What do I need to bring to the construction site?
We ask that you bring your own water and lunch. You should wear sturdy, closed toe shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. We provide all tools and safety equipment (hardhats, safety glasses, earplugs and dust-masks).

What do I bring for lunch?
We encourage volunteers to bring their own lunch or money to buy something at a nearby corner-store or restaurant. We take an hour-long lunch break and, if volunteers have left for lunch, we ask that they return on time to begin the afternoon’s project.

Where are the construction sites?
We build in target neighborhoods throughout the city; our primary areas of concentration are in North Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and Germantown. Our ReStore building is located in Kensington.

What about cancellations for inclement weather?
We don’t often cancel build days because we can usually work on indoors projects when we need to. However, if extreme weather is forecast or is already here, we may decide to cancel the work day. In the winter, we base our decision on the Philadelphia School District’s operating schedule. If schools close or delay, we do the same. In the summer and on Saturdays, Habitat will make a decision as soon as possible on the day before and update all volunteers via email and phone. Regardless of the status of a build day, if you don’t feel comfortable travelling to site, that’s perfectly fine—just let us know!

Are the construction sites safe?
We provide an in-depth safety talk at the beginning of your volunteer day. We make sure you have all the training and supervision you need to complete the day’s project safely. All safety gear is provided on site, and each of our staff members is certified in First Aid and CPR. We want you to be comfortable with the project you’re assigned to; if you’re ever uncomfortable with a task we’ll find something else for you to work on.

 

Volunteer Groups, Community Service, and Habitat Worldwide

How do I get my company or organization involved?
We’d love to have your group build with us! Please read more about supporting Habitat Philadelphia through our Team Build Program. If you’re interested, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@habitatphiladelphia.org or call 215.765.6000 x10.

Why do you ask for a $2,500 donation for Team Build Days on Homebuilding Sites?
By sponsoring your Team Build Day, your company or organization helps Habitat Philadelphia to provide the materials, training and supervision that will give you a rewarding experience on site. Habitat also uses your contribution to continue funding our program and advancing our mission. 

Is there a different requested donation amount for schools, faith-based groups and non-profits?

Yes.  If your group is from a non-profit organization or is an education- or faith-based group, we ask for a $500 donation.

As a non-profit organization ourselves, we know that fundraising can be challenging. We’d be happy to share some of the ways our groups have successfully raised funds for their build days in the past. We see your group’s effort as a testament to the ideal we share with our sponsors—the desire to eliminate poverty housing in Philadelphia.

Is fundraising a daunting prospect for your team? Come help out at the Habitat Philadelphia ReStore for a day! We’re always looking for teams to join us here, we can reserve spots for groups of more than 10—and we DO NOT request a donation in association with a ReStore Volunteer Day! This is a great way for your group to help at Habitat without raising funds.