Myth: Habitat for Humanity gives houses away.
Fact: Habitat for Humanity offers affordable homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional house financing. Austin Habitat serves families earning 60 percent or below Median Family Income, or about $45,000 for a family of 4. Most of our families earn 30-40 percent Median Family Income. In most cases, prospective Habitat homeowner families make a down payment. Additionally, they contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home and/or someone else’s home. Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, material and labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable.
Myth: Habitat serves the homeless.
Fact: Austin Habitat for Humanity serves first time homebuyers or families who have not owned a home in the last three years. Our homeowners must have a stable income adequate to pay for their housing and other expenses.
Myth: Habitat houses reduce a neighborhood’s property values.
Fact: Housing studies show affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have proven to increase property values and local government tax income.
Myth: Habitat homeowners are on welfare.
Fact: While some Habitat homeowners receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children, many more are working people. Typically their annual income is less than half the local median income in their community.
Myth: You have to be Christian to become a Habitat homeowner.
Fact: Habitat homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group, in keeping with U.S. law and with Habitat’s abiding belief that God’s love extends to everyone. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.
Myth: Habitat for Humanity was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Fact: Habitat was started in 1976 in Americus, Ga., by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda. President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Americus, in Plains, Ga.), have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help bring national attention to the organization’s house-building work. Each year, they lead the Jimmy Carter Work Project to help build houses and raise awareness of the need for affordable housing.