Frequently Asked Questions

About Habitat

What is Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is a global non-profit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the United States and in more than 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward our vision by building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.

Are Habitat for Humanity and Habitat SLO County the same organization?

Habitat for Humanity San Luis Obispo County (aka Habitat SLO) is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), meaning it is an official subsidiary of the larger “parent” organization. Habitat SLO County is committed to serving the community of San Luis Obispo County, while HFHI oversees all affiliates across the globe. The programs and projects we pursue are specific responses to the needs, priorities, resources, and community of San Luis Obispo. When you support Habitat SLO County, you’re supporting your neighbors.

How does Habitat help families?

How many houses has Habitat built in San Luis Obispo County?

Does Habitat only build new houses?

No! Habitat for Humanity works in a number of different ways to create decent, affordable housing.

In addition to new construction, Habitat also renovates existing homes in many communities, particularly in urban areas. We people repair and improve their own homes and neighborhoods through the Neighborhood Revitalization initiative and it’s programs. Habitat for Humanity International manages a Disaster Response program that works with local communities to address a variety of housing needs after natural disasters. HFHI also engages in advocacy work to raise awareness and support for decent and affordable housing around the world. Outside of North America, Habitat works with partner organizations to serve even more families through innovative financing methods.

What is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore?

Where does Habitat for Humanity operate?

Habitat for Humanity works in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries around the world. Our operational headquarters are located in Americus, Georgia, and our administrative headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

How does Habitat for Humanity work with the government?

Habitat asks legislators and housing regulators to increase support for affordable homeownership and decent housing.

Habitat monitors public policies related to housing, community and international development.

Habitat advocates for policies that will increase access to decent, affordable housing available to people around the world.

Habitat accepts government funds as long as they have no conditions that would violate our principles or limit our ability to proclaim our Christian identity.

Is Habitat for Humanity a governmental program founded by Jimmy Carter?

No. Habitat for Humanity is an independent, non-profit organization that accepts some government funds and other resources to help build houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter. Each affiliate has specific guidelines for their programs to limit reliance on government funding.

Former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn have been longtime supporters of Habitat for Humanity. Mrs. Carter grew up in Plains, Georgia, just eight miles from Americus, Georgia where Habitat was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976. Mr. and Mrs. Carter’s devotion to Habitat has brought world-wide attention to the organization and the need for affordable housing in America and around the world.

Is Habitat for Humanity a Christian organization?

Yes, we are a global non-profit Christian housing organization. All who desire to be a part of this work are welcome, regardless of religious preference or background. We have a policy of building with people in need regardless of race or religion. We welcome applicants, volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.

About Homeownership

I am in urgent need of affordable housing. What organizations can help me?

There are other housing-support agencies in San Luis Obispo that may be able to help.

How does Habitat for Humanity homeownership work?

Families in need of decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership with their local Habitat for Humanity.

Each local Habitat’s family selection committee selects homeowners based on three criteria:

  • The applicant’s level of need,
  • Their willingness to partner with Habitat,
  • Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan,

Habitat’s homebuyers invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners, in addition to paying an affordable mortgage and receiving financial education.

Habitat for Humanity follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowners.

Does Habitat give homes away for free?

No. When a qualified applicant is selected to purchase a Habitat for Humanity home, they commit to repaying an affordable mortgage, and partnering with Habitat in several ways including the commitment to provide sweat equity volunteer hours toward the construction of their home.

How do I know if I qualify for a Habitat house or program?

How are the mortgages so affordable?

Habitat homes are built on the generosity of the community where they stand. Oftentimes, land, labor, materials, and services are donated to the project which helps to keep costs low. Because our selected homebuyers must meet certain income criteria, our programs are supplemented by government and other programs. Together, these factors help keep mortgage payments affordable.

Do Habitat homebuyers get to choose their own contractors, appliances, fixtures, etc.?

Habitat homes are humble, decent homes built with affordability in mind. We rely on the generosity of volunteer and donor support in every aspect of the building process. Habitat homebuyers are generally able to select certain elements and finishes in their home as part of the construction process. These details are described to the homebuyer during the application and construction process, and may vary by program.

About Volunteering

How do I volunteer?

Does Habitat SLO County have volunteer opportunities all the time?

Can I do construction volunteering on a build any time?

About Donating

What kind of donations do you accept?

Can I donate this item to your ReStore?

What are ReStore donation hours and why are they different from store hours?

Will you pick up my ReStore donation?

If I donate to Habitat International does my money stay in San Luis Obispo County?

If you donate items to a Habitat SLO County ReStore, they will be sold in our local stores and the proceeds will be used to support our programs locally.

How are financial donations distributed and used?

All undesignated gifts received by Habitat for Humanity International are invested through the Global Impact Fund where they can have the greatest impact. Habitat’s Global Impact Fund helps:

  • Design and replicate innovative programs to serve more low-income families.
  • Build the capacity of our network of U.S. affiliates and national organizations.
  • Cover other costs necessary to ensure that Habitat fulfills its mission with excellence.

How are my donations to Habitat SLO County used? What other funding sources are used for your programs?