casaGURU has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity for the casaGURU Cares campaign. When you sign up for your free casaGURU.com membership, a donation will be made to the Habitat for Humanity chapter nearest you.
Now that we've been running casaGURU cares for a little while, we felt it was time to make sure people knew just how H4H works.
Habitat for Humanity works through volunteer labour, efficient management and tax-deductible donations of money and materials used to build and rehabilitate houses. The houses are then sold to families at no profit and financed with affordable, no-interest mortgages and these families must participate in the building of their home and others. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund, which is used to build more houses.
Just like you learnt the rain cycle through flow charts in high school science, here’s an easy to follow one for the H4H process:
- Eligible homeowners are identified and then prepared for home ownership.
- Future homeowners are assisted in the building of their new home with donated funds, material and labour.
- The home is purchased with a down payment of 500 hours of sweat equity*.
- The interest-free mortgage is amortized to ensure that payments are always 25 per cent of the homeowner’s income.
- The mortgage payments are reinvested back into the home ownership program.
This cycle shows how H4H attempts to break the cycle of poverty.
There are three criterias to qualify for a Habitat home:
A. Need for affordable housing
B. Ability to repay a Habitat mortgage
C. Willingness to partner with Habitat
We already talked about high school science, so how about a little history lesson?
H4H was founded in 1976 in Americus, Georgia. The seed of the movement was “partnership housing” so those in need of shelter worked alongside volunteers from all walks of life to build simple, decent housing. This movement spread north of the border and into Canada in 1985 when the first Canadian chapter was founded in Winkler, Manitoba. Canada now has 70 affiliates in 10 provinces and 2 territories.
Here are some interesting facts about H4H:
- H4H International spans 93 countries, has built more than 225,000 homes and is currently building a new home every 21 minutes.
- H4H Canada consists of more than 35,000 volunteers
- The average cost per square foot of Habitat houses in Canada is about $50 (this cost reflects building materials and services only and labour is volunteered).
- Because all mortgage payments are reinvested into building more affordable homes, donations (both manual and financial) truly are gifts that keep on giving.
- Volunteers do not need to have prior construction skills. However, most volunteers will have them once they’re finished their experience as they works alongside experienced trades people on the sites.
- H4H is a hand up, not a hand out. Families who participate don’t sit around waiting for their house to be built, they participate directly in its construction. In fact, each family is required to put in 500 hours of sweat equity in their house and other H4H houses.
- Because H4H is a registered charitable organization, you can receive an official tax receipts for donations of cash and gift-in-kind building materials.
What's another great way to help Habitat for Humanity? casaGURU Cares! When you sign up for your free online account, casaGURU.com will make a donation to the Habitat for Humanity affiliate closest to you. So what're you waiting for? Sign up now!
*Sweat equity is the contribution of time and effort to a project. In this case, the physical building of a home.