What is Habitat for Humanity?
We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that works in partnership with individuals, businesses, congregations, schools, and civic groups to build affordable homes for local families living in situations of critical housing need. We were founded in 1988 as a recognized affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.
Where do you build?
Our service area is all 15 towns in Barnstable County: Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth.
Is there a need for Habitat’s services?
We always have more applicants than homes. Local housing prices are 10% higher than elsewhere in Massachusetts, and wages are 35% lower, creating a significant “affordability gap.” Substandard housing on Cape Cod may include circumstances such as: overcrowded conditions, rentals with lead paint or mold, high rents that consume an unsustainable portion of a family’s income, or seasonal housing that forces families to become displaced for two or three months of every year.
Who is eligible for a Habitat home and how are families selected?
We serve families who earn less than 65 percent of area median income and can also pay our affordable mortgage. Applicants must also be willing to put in 250-500 sweat equity hours building their home. All applicants fill out a mortgage application and submit documentation typical when applying for a mortgage, as well as a written personal statement. Applications are reviewed by trained volunteers and credit reviewers. Qualified applicants are interviewed in person to evaluate housing need and a willingness to partner with us. We follow a strict nondiscriminatory policy, and abide by all fair housing laws. The final stage in our selection process is a lottery of all qualified applicants.
What does a Habitat house cost?
Currently, a three-bedroom Habitat house on Cape Cod costs the homeowner an average of $146,250. The average monthly payment for our homes is between $650 and $800 per month, including taxes and insurance. We charge no profit when we sell the home, and our homes are sold with either a no- or a very low-interest mortgage. All homes are deed-restricted to be affordable in perpetuity, if sold.
Who funds Habitat?
Much of our funding comes from individuals who believe that everyone deserves a decent home. Other funds come from our partners: faith partners, businesses, civic groups, and foundations. Community Preservation grants have been important to our work in recent years, and net profit from our ReStores provides significant funding. Grants or government funding help with roads and other infrastructure costs. We also seek donations of land, building materials, and other in-kind gifts. Finally, monthly mortgage payments and funds from home sales are used to build more homes for more families.
How do you get land?
Some land is donated outright by individuals, or by towns looking to meet local needs and increase their affordable housing inventory. Other land is sold to us at “Habitat-Friendly” prices. And at times, we purchase land using grant money from a town’s community preservation act funds.
How can I help?
Anyone can volunteer in a variety of ways! Construction volunteers, experienced or not, are encouraged to sign up for shifts using our on-line system Habitat Connect (the link is at the top of this page). We also have many non-construction volunteer positions – from sitting on our board or serving on one of our many committees, to baking snacks, or working in our office. Donations, no matter what size, are also essential to our work. We are grateful to all those who contribute time, talent, or treasure to help us complete our mission.
Is Habitat for Humanity a Christian organization?
Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod is one of more than 1,500 active affiliates of Habitat for Humanity international, which was founded on the Christian principles of fellowship, charity, and service. Exercising the theology of the hammer, Habitat’s unique partnership includes and welcomes people of diverse faiths – or no faith – and backgrounds at all levels.
What is Habitat’s Tithe?
Like many Habitat affiliates, we "tithe" 10% of our unrestricted income* to help build homes overseas. For several years now, our Board of Directors have voted to specify that 75% of our tithe be used in Haiti, and the remaining 25% be used "where most needed." Habitat International calculates the cost of a home in Haiti at $4,500, and we are credited with building over 100 homes since our tithe started in 1990.
*Funds that are "unrestricted" do not include donations that are designated by the donor for a particular construction project.