Myth: Habitat for Humanity gives houses away.
Fact: Lewiston-Clarkston Partners Habitat for Humanity offers homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional house financing. Generally, this includes those whose income is 30-69% of the LC Valley’s median income. Prospective homeowner families make a down payment equal to 1% of the purchase price, and they contribute 500 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home, on the construction of someone else’s home, at the Habitat Store, or at the office. Because Habitat homes are built using donated labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable.
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 homes have proven to increase property values and local government tax income.
Myth: Illegal immigrants get Habitat homes.
Fact: Lewiston-Clarkston Partners Habitat for Humanity requires that all purchasers, and their dependents, be legal residents of the United States of America.
Myth: Habitat homeowners are on welfare.
Fact: Qualified families are working people struggling to house their families, to put food on the table, obtain healthcare, and assure their children are educated. Some families receive some type of assistance, but not all, and typically a family’s annual income is less than 60% of 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 beliefs. 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 International dictates policy and practices for every local Habitat organization.
Fact: Local Habitat affiliates are independent, nonprofit organizations that operate within a specific service area within the framework of the Habitat Affiliate Covenant.
Myth: Habitat for Humanity is an arm of the government.
Fact: Habitat for Humanity is not an arm of the government. Habitat is an independent, nonprofit organization that accepts some government funds and other resources to help provide houses for those in need.
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’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity International began in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience planted the seed for the Carter Work Project, which has been an internationally recognized Habitat event ever since.
While the former president is a noted carpenter (the White House staff gave him tools for his workshop when he left the presidency), Rosalynn has also gained building experience with Habitat.
The former first lady describes her work on a Habitat project in “Everything to Gain,” a book that was co-written by the Carters: “I didn’t think I could use a hammer and I didn’t want to use a hammer. At first it took me 15 or 20 strokes for each nail, but before the week was over I could drive one in with only four or five strokes!”
In 2008, the event―formerly the Jimmy Carter Work Project―was renamed to the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, to recognize Mrs. Carter’s years of dedicated service to help raise awareness and provide simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with families in need.