Habitat for Humanity is a unique approach to affordable housing. Below are answers to some common questions or misconceptions:
A typical Palouse HFH home is a single story, 1200 sqft, 3-bedroom 2-bath ranch-style home. Roofs feature three tab architectural shingles and a covered front porch.
Homes are built to a "visitability" standard, with wide hallways, doorways, and one bathroom which could accommodate a wheelchair. We also build with zero-step entrances.
We usually install electric forced air furnaces and electric water heaters. We include low E windows and high R value insulation to make future utility bills as affordable as possible.
Appliances are often donated, including refrigerator, range, microwave, dishwasher, cloths washer and dryer.
There will be an 8x8 exterior shed for storage, unless the neighborhood zoning requires a garage. Habitat does not garages unless required.
Palouse HFH does not build "custom" homes, with high end fixtures or finishings. However, within the budget options, homeowners are allowed to choose the color of flooring, cabinets and counter tops, as well as exterior paint and one interior accent wall.
We do build to fit the homeowner's needs. For those requiring a wheelchair for their mobility, we install roll-in showers and ensured the house meets accessibility standards. For larger families, Habitat would could add bedrooms, depending on the ages and gender of the children.
The Habitat Homeownership program is not for a free house, but for an affordable, interest-free mortgage. So our families do pay for their homes, and they also work hard for them by performing sweat equity. Learn more on our Apply page.
The primary criteria for a Habitat house are ability to pay, need for housing, and willingness to partner.
Palouse Habitat for Humanity is an Equal Opportunity Lender and a Fair Housing organization. We follow all Equal Opportunity Lending and Fair Housing laws, and we do not discriminate based on race, religion, nation of origin, gender, sexual orientation, family status, marital status or any other protected classes. All households, whether families with children, without children, or single individuals, are encouraged to apply.
Our Homeowner Selection Committee is prepared to work with households at various levels of preparedness for homeownership and we encourage those with the dream of ownership to apply.
It takes Palouse HFH about 10 months from start to finish. We typically build 2 days a week, Thursdays and Saturdays.
All homes built by Habitat must not only meet or surpass every building code in the communities we build in, they must also match the size and quality of surrounding homes. We build quality, attractive, simple, modern homes. All homes must pass stringent inspections by city or county inspectors.
While the majority of work on the homes is done by volunteers, all volunteers are trained and supervised by a Habitat Construction Supervisor. In addition, plumbing, electrical, roofing, and other skilled work is done by licensed professionals. The results are homes that meet or exceed all codes and standards of the area.
In 2020, a typical two bedroom apartment in Pullman or Moscow cost over $900/month to rent. There is no long-term financial gain from renting.
The cost of recent PHFH homes has been $500-$650/month, including taxes and insurance. These payments go toward a zero-interest mortgage which is set based on PHFH's cost to build the home. Once that mortgage is paid off, the homeowner benefits from the value of that home.
The future Habitat Homeowner also contributes $1000 over the course of the home build to cover a portion of the closing costs. The rest of the closing costs are rolled into the mortgage, along with the first year of homeowners insurance and property taxes, making entry into homeownership easy.
It takes a lot of hard work and commitment for families to buy a Habitat home. To begin the application process, families must demonstrate their ability to pay a mortgage and manage their finances. Once a family is accepted into the program, they contribute sweat equity hours and sometimes are asked to meet additional requirements such as attending homebuyer education or financial classes. These steps can take more than a year to complete depending on the family situation. Every day, Habitat homebuyers are working diligently to become homeowners.
Between 200-250 volunteers from the community help build each home.
Some come regularly, and make up the self-named "Codger Crew." The Codgers are men and women of all ages who make Habitat building a regular part of their schedule.
Some come once a month or once a year. They might be a single individual from the community, or a group from a local business, church or service organization.
Click here to learn more about volunteering!
All funds to build here in Latah and Whitman County are raised locally by Palouse Habitat for Humanity. Funds come from the Palouse Habitat Surplus Sale, the annual signature fundraiser dinner and auction, Beans 'n' Jeans, regular Cornerstone Donors, and other gifts.
Habitat for Humanity International provides no funding for local home building.
Palouse HFH receives no federal or state funding for home building.
Habitat was started in 1976 in Americus, Ga., by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda. Millard was an Atlanta-based business man who recognized the need for a life of meaning, and discovered the integrated affordable housing community at Koinonia Farms. Habitat for Humanity grew from his interactions at Koinonia.
President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Americus, in Plains, Ga.), have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help bring national and international attention to the organization’s house-building work. Each year, they lead the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to help build houses and raise awareness of the need for affordable housing.
Other famous Habitat supporters include consumer expert Clark Howard, country music stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and The Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott.
Local Habitat affiliates are independent, nonprofit organizations that operate within a specific service area within the framework of the Habitat Affiliate Covenant. Each affiliate focuses its building, repair and fundraising efforts within their service area. Affiliates to tithe a percentage of donations to support the global housing efforts of Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat International does share branding, marketing, and research with local affiliates to help them achieve their goals, but exercises no direct authority over local affiliates.
Locally, Palouse HFH operates with a 12-15 member Board of Directors who set the direction for the organization, set policy and ensure compliance with federal, state and local law. There is an 8 member staff who conduct the day-to-day operations. All are part-time except the Executive Director and Store Manager.
Funds to build homes come from the annual fundraiser, Beans 'n' Jeans, and the Surplus Sale as well as mortgage payments from current Habitat homeowners.
Habitat homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group, in keeping with U.S. law and with Habitat’s beliefs that God’s love extends to everyone. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.
Numerous studies have shown that affordable housing has no adverse effects on a community’s property values. Habitat ensures that our homes are well-built and fit in to the rest of the neighborhood.
Making safe, stable, affordable housing available to everyone is a huge issue, but Habitat believes that by continuing to build more homes by partnering with other committed groups, developing new partnerships and innovative approaches, and by putting the issue of poverty housing in the hearts and minds of compassionate people everywhere, the problem can be solved.