History/Mission

Our Vision
A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Our Mission
Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

About Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County
 

Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles that seeks to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope. Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.  Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.

All are Welcome 
Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County has an open-door policy: All who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people. In short, Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and also serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion. As a matter of policy, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations do not proselytize. This means that Habitat will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must either adhere to or convert to a particular faith, or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Founded in Americus, Georgia, USA, in 1976, Habitat for Humanity today operates around the globe and has helped build, renovate andrepair more than 600,000 decent, affordable houses sheltering more than 3 million people worldwide.

History of Habitat for Humanity International

Initially, Habitat for Humanity was little more than an exciting idea in the minds of two unusual men – the late Clarence Jordan and Millard Fuller.

In the early 40's, Clarence Jordan helped develop a cooperative Christian community near Americus, Georgia. They believed that race does not divide people in God's sight. Difficult times plagued the group, organized in the belief that Christianity requires a social conscience as well as a spiritual dimension.

Meanwhile, a highly successful businessman named Millard Fuller, was experiencing the personal costs of becoming a millionaire before age 30. With his health, marriage, and religious foundation failing, he gave everything away to work with those less fortunate.

In the late 60's Jordan and Fuller came together to begin a mutual dream of "partnership housing." Their basic premise was, "what the poor need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers but co-workers.

In September of 1976, Fuller called together a group of committed Christians to discuss the future of this dream. Habitat for Humanity as an organization was born at this meeting. If you would like to visit Habitat for Humanity's International web site, please click here.  

Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County History

Organized in the spring and incorporated on October 25th, 1990, the Ontario County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity is a fully autonomous, non-profit, tax-exempt organization which is responsible for its own fund raising. Its Board of Directors and officers are volunteers from several towns, various churches, and civic organizations throughout the area.

Habitat volunteers work in partnership with responsible low-income families to construct inexpensive but sturdy homes. The families then purchase the homes on a no-profit, low interest basis. Building sites are donated to, or purchased by Habitat. Local volunteers, churches, and businesses then donate or help raise funds to purchase materials, tools, labor, and services. Families help design and build the home they will eventually live in, within guidelines set by Habitat. They also spend four hundred hours working on a Habitat house. When their home is completed, they purchase it at cost from Habitat, usually with a 25-year mortgage. Their payments enable Habitat to continue building houses for other people.

Myths About Habitat

We find that many people have misunderstandings about how Habitat works, and that they are pleased when they learn the facts. Here are some answers to common myths about Habitat for Humanity. If you still have additional questions, you can contact us here:

Myth: Habitat families receive their homes for free.

Fact: Habitat homes are never given away. The families pay for the homes through a mortgage held by the Habitat affiliate. The purchase price is what it cost the Habitat affiliate to build the home, and the mortgage carries low interest. In 2002, the average price for a Habitat home in the United States was $51,219. The no-profit sale and no-interest mortgage help make Habitat homes affordable.

Mortgage payments made by Habitat homeowners are used over and over for the construction of additional homes. That has been a major factor in Habitat's continuing growth.

This myth is so widespread that you will see it mistakenly stated in news coverage about Habitat activities. Don't believe such reports. They are not and have never been true.

Myth: Habitat for Humanity International provides all the money for home construction.

Fact: The International organization provides some financial aid to affiliates, but that support makes up a small part of the cost of the homes built each year by Habitat affiliates. Each affiliate is responsible for its own fund raising efforts.

Myth: Many Habitat homeowners fail and are evicted from their homes.

Fact: Some Habitat homeowners do have problems and find that they are unable to keep up on their mortgage payments. But the rate of foreclosure on Habitat mortgages is low, 1.5 percent according to statistics for North America compiled by the international organization. That is within the range for all mortgages in the country, even though Habitat only works with low-income families.

Myth: Some Habitat families could get a house on their own if only they were willing to work for it.

Fact: The Habitat selection criteria and process guarantees that's not the case. To qualify for a Habitat home, a family's income should be less than 50 percent of the median income for their community, a figure which would keep them from qualifying for a conventional mortgage.

Habitat families also don't simply show up at the closing to get title to their homes. They are required to partner with the affiliate building or rehabilitating their home, which includes a requirement that they work several hundred hours on their homes.

Families unwilling to work or able to get a conventional mortgage don't qualify for a Habitat home.

Myth: Habitat was founded by President Jimmy Carter.

Fact: The former president is Habitat's "Most Famous Volunteer," not its founder. Habitat was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller near Carter's home of Plains, Georgia, but Carter was busy elsewhere that year — running for and being elected president.

The first Jimmy Carter Work Project was in 1984 in New York City, an event which launched Habitat on the world stage. It's now a fixture in the Habitat calendar which draws thousands of volunteers each year.

Myth: Habitat affiliates hurt communities because they take property off the tax rolls.

Fact: Habitat for Humanity is a tax exempt organization, but it sells the houses it builds to homeowners so they immediately go on the tax rolls. Since the homes were either vacant lots or homes in need of significant renovation before the Habitat project took place, the result is an increase in the local tax base which benefits all property tax payers in the community.

Often Habitat projects spur other homeowners in the area to improve their properties as well, which benefits the entire community.