Building Houses, Building Hope, Building Philadelphia

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Answers to frequently asked questions about Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

How does the Habitat Homeownership Program work?
Families who are selected for our program partner with our donors and volunteers to build decent, affordable homes. Families work for 350 sweat equity hours on their own house or other Habitat houses in lieu of a down payment and to earn a no-interest mortgage. Please read more at Homeownership Program.

How does the Weatherization and Home Repair Program work?
Families who partner with Habitat in the Weatherization and Home Repair Program contribute hours of sweat equity and earn low- or no-interest loans for affordable and critical home repairs. You can read more here.

What is Habitat Philadelphia’s relationship to Habitat for Humanity International?
Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia is an independently chartered affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, the largest nonprofit homebuilder worldwide. We maintain a close relationship with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) as well as the five other Delaware Valley Habitat affiliates; however, each affiliate operates independently of HFHI. Each affiliate is responsible to raise funds locally to build locally. Contributions to Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia fund projects in the City of Philadelphia, whereas contributions to Habitat for Humanity International help fund projects abroad.

How is Jimmy Carter involved with Habitat for Humanity?
Many people mistake Jimmy Carter as the founder of Habitat for Humanity International; however, HFHI was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda. Former President Jimmy Carter is our most famous volunteer! His involvement with Habitat for Humanity began in 1984 when he and his wife Rosalynn led a work group to New York City – the first annual Jimmy Carter Work Project. Ever since, both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter give a week of their time each year to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing. Habitat Philadelphia hosted the Jimmy Carter Work Project in 1988.

Who are Habitat Philadelphia’s partner families?
Habitat works with all types of families, but a typical partner family is a hardworking single parent of three, earning between $25,000 - $35,000 a year. To qualify as a partner family with Habitat Philadelphia, a family has to be able to: (1) pay a mortgage; (2) demonstrate need for housing; and (3) partner with Habitat Philadelphia through the sweat equity process to purchase their home.

To learn more, please read Our Programs

How much does a Habitat Philadelphia house cost to build?
Habitat Philadelphia constructs new houses and restores vacant properties to new life. On average, it costs about $120,000 to rehabilitate a home, and $140,000 to build a new one. Collectively, mortgage payments are paid forward into our Fund for Humanity which helps to build more houses and empower more families. We also receive donations from generous corporations, congregations, organizations, and individuals who are invested in their City and committed to creating affordable housing for everyone in Philadelphia.

How do I donate to Habitat Philadelphia? 

Learn more about ways to support Habitat Philadelphia.

How much does a partner family pay for a Habitat Home?
Habitat homes have zero-interest, 20-30 year mortgages that cost an average of $400/month. Mortgage payments vary depending on the size of the house and can also be affected by the cost of real estate taxes and homeowners insurance.

Who can volunteer with Habitat Philadelphia?
Habitat Philadelphia welcomes individuals and groups to work on our construction sites, at our ReStore, or in the office. You must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer on a construction site. We have a real need for skilled volunteers, but anyone can help – you will learn on-site from our experienced site supervisors. For more information about volunteering with Habitat Philadelphia, read here. 

What is a Habitat ReStore? Does Habitat Philadelphia have one?
Habitat ReStores are outlets that accept donated goods for resale. The profits from ReStores are used to help fund the construction of more houses. We opened our ReStore in September 2011, come visit us!

If you’re outside of Philadelphia, find your local Habitat ReStore

How does Habitat Philadelphia acquire property?
The majority of our properties are attained through the City, specifically the Redevelopment Authority (RDA), the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) and Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA).

Habitat also benefits from donated properties from individuals and estates. If you are interested in donating property, please contact Steve Blunt, our Director of Project Planning at or 215.765.6000 x25.

We also purchase properties on critical blocks in neighborhoods where we have a history of building. Habitat Philadelphia welcomes your support to help defray the costs of property acquisition. Donate Now

What type of houses does Habitat Philadelphia build?
Habitat Philadelphia builds and rehabilitates row homes, typically with two or three bedrooms. With our new construction projects, we make every effort to have the architectural design match the blocks where we are building. Whether the home is a rehabilitated or newly constructed, two bedrooms or three, all homes are built with care for the family who will be living there and for the neighborhood where it is located.

Are Habitat Philadelphia homes green?
YES! Building green is inherent in Habitat Philadelphia’s mission of providing decent, affordable housing for all. Sustainable housing is not only better for the environment; it is more economical for our families and has a positive social impact on the communities where we build. Learn more about our Green Building practices here

Does Habitat partner with other community organizations? Does Habitat Philadelphia have a working relationship with local, state, and national government officials and organizations?
To build community, we must practice community. Habitat Philadelphia works closely with our built-in network of local Habitat affiliates, as well, we collaborate with a number of federal, state and city funding organizations.

Building in neighborhoods requires that we have strong community partners. Before building, we have the support and cooperation of local neighborhood associations and coalitions in each area that serve as strong community anchors for Habitat.