D.C. Habitat for Humanity (DCHFH) is a nonprofit housing developer and is one of approximately 21,600 affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International, an ecumenical Christian organization based in Georgia. DCHFH works with the Washington, DC community to build affordable homes for low-income residents. At the end of FY2008, DCHFH had completed 100 homes and renovated 75 low-income cooperative units with the help of their 10,000-plus volunteers.
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, DCHFH builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses which it then sells to families who are ineligible for conventional financing. Prospective homeowners make a $500 down payment and contribute 300 hours of "sweat equity" by investing their labor into building Habitat houses. To help the families afford house payments, DCHFH offers no-profit, no-interest, 25-year mortgages for the homeowners. These mortgage payments are then reinvested in a revolving fund to finance the acquisition of additional properties and building materials.
DCHFH also administers programs that enable volunteers to give time for construction, committee, and office support. All volunteers must attend a "Nuts & Bolts" orientation meeting before they can begin. Regular volunteers become trained in the DC Habitat way of home construction through their consistent attendance and some eventually help lead other volunteers as crew leaders.
DCHFH raises money through individual, corporate, faith donations.
Individuals and families who are legal residents of the US and are in need of decent shelter may apply for a DCHFH home. The Family Selection Committee reviews applications and chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program, and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. DCHFH serves urban communities in DC and follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Currently, nearly all of their homeowners are African American and more than 90% are women.
DCHFH builds houses that are large enough for a family's needs, but small enough to keep construction and maintenance costs to a minimum. Typically DCHFH houses have three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and one bathroom. Most do not have basements.
As of June 30th, 2008, DCHFH had net assets of $4.3 million. Since inception, DCHFH has financed and developed 100 housing units. This has given many families hope, pride, a financial safety net, and a secure place to raise their children.
Harvey and Juanita Brown dreamed of owning their own home for 20 years before becoming involved with DC Habitat for Humanity, making that dream a reality. Their previous apartment building was unclean and unsafe; their children could not even play outside for fear of stray bullets. After being approved as HABT homebuyers, the Browns completed their 300 hours of “sweat equity” in record time. Now living in their own home, the Browns feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, because they are able to provide their children with a safe, stable environment. Full Story