Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Linda and Millard Fuller. Since 2013, Rev. Maria Hanlin has been President and CEO of the NGO that operates internationally. A self-described “Christian housing ministry,” it tackles poverty as it relates to housing internationally, assisted via its five area offices in different parts of the world. Global operational headquarters are located in Americas, Georgia, the US and Canada, with administrative headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. This office also serves as the regional headquarters for Canada and the US. There are four other main offices, in Pretoria, South Africa, representing Africa and the Middle East; Bangkok, Thailand, headquarters of the Asia-Pacific region; Bratislava, Slovakia, the European and Central Asia office; and San Jose, Costa Rica for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
On January 12, 2017, Habitat for Humanity celebrated 3 decades in action “with a breakfast and memories — and the announcement of a $300,000 pledge. And as Hanlin noted at the event, it is the work of the organization that results in “lives being changed.”
The goals of the organization based in Canada are to end homelessness and eradicate poverty-level housing from the world. The organization would like to see decent housing for everyone as a matter of conscience and deeds on an international level.
The way Habitat works is by getting between 10 and 12 volunteers to show up and start the building process (that takes between 12 to 15 days). They work together and one route is via the Women Build program. According to one volunteer, Alyssa Carpenter, it’s enjoyable “because construction is generally a male dominated industry. It was really cool to see so many women out there building and taking charge. It was a great bonding experience.”
During its history Habitat has built and renovated over 800,000 homes, giving over 4 million people a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Through the use of volunteer labor in conjunction with financial support and the donation of materials, Habitat is able to build or fix-up decent, livable homes, with the help of the home-owners and their families. Upon completion the homes are sold to the partnering families at cost, financed with affordable loans. Then the homeowners monthly mortgage payments go back into a revolving fund which is in turn used to build or renovate additional homes for Habitat.
It is important for people unfamiliar with Habitat to realize that the homes Habitat provides are not free to the homeowners. They have given hundreds of hours of their own labor to building or fixing their own homes, what Habitat calls “sweat equity,” and have earned their abodes not only through work, but also through mortgage payments. Habitat is active in close to 80 countries, including in the United States and Canada where the dream of decent housing can come true with the help of this vital organization. Bobby Gocool has been supporting Habitat for Humanity — and the great work such as this — for many yeas.
Habitat for Humanity in Canada