Building Houses, Building Hope, Building Philadelphia

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How We Build

Habitat volunteers building a house

How We Build

Habitat for Humanity is founded on the idea of partnership housing – where families in need of adequate housing work shoulder-to-shoulder with volunteers, donors, and Habitat staff to build new homes and repair existing homes across Philadelphia. Families like the Colemans have escaped the cycle of poverty by becoming the owners of a safe, affordable Habitat home. Here's how they did it:

The Path to Homeownership at Habitat


The Need in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, one in four families is forced to decide between paying for rent or food, medical bills or transportation to work. This high cost burden forces families to make tough decisions daily that have a lasting negative impact on their lives, their children, and their communities.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development if you spend over 30% of your annual income on housing, you may have trouble paying for necessities such as food, electricity, and healthcare.

Based on the Fair Market Rent in Philadelphia and the annual income of an individual being paid minimum wage, one would need to work 97 hours/week (2.2 full-time minimum wage jobs) to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia. 

The lack of decent, affordable housing forces families to pay excessive amounts of money to rent inadequate, overcrowded housing.

Our Impact

Habitat Philadelphia focuses on home ownership as its solution to affordable housing. By offering no-interest mortgages and accepting sweat equity as a down payment, we are able to offer affordable homeownership opportunities to families who would otherwise not qualify for a mortgage.

For a family previously spending around 30% of their income on housing, an affordable mortgage is a crucial change that allows them to spend money on other important things such as healthcare, education, electricity, food and other basic human needs.