Habitat International

“I see life both as a gift and responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need.”

The idea for Habitat for Humanity was developed by Millard Fuller and the late Clarence Jordan in 1968 at Koinonia Community in Georgia. From 1973 to 1976, Millard Fuller and his family put the principle of Habitat to work in Zaire in Central Africa, building hundreds of houses there. In 1976, the Fullers returned to the United States and Habitat was formed. Since 1976, Habitat has expanded to cover all 50 states in the U.S. and over 1,500 locayions in other countries.. Our visibility has been enhanced by former President Jimmy Carter, who has worked as an international board member and as a volunteer laborer at summer work camps since 1984, in cities across our country and around the world.

Since its founding in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat For Humanity International has built and rehabilitated more than 300,000 houses with families in need, becoming a true world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing.

Koinonia Farm and the Fund for Humanity

The concept that grew into Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial Christian farming community founded in 1942 outside of Americus, Georgia by a farmer and Biblical scholar named Clarence Jordan. The Fullers first visited Koinonia in 1965, having recently left a successful business in Montgomery, Alabama and all the trappings of an affluent lifestyle to begin a new life of Christian service. At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of “partnership housing” – where those in need of adequate shelter would work side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.

The houses would be built with no profit added and no interest charged. Building would be financed by a revolving Fund for Humanity. The fund’s money would come from the new home owners’ house payments, donations and no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fund-raising activities. The monies in the Fund for Humanity would be used to build more houses.

In 1968, Koinonia laid out 42 half-acre sites with four acres reserved as a community park and recreational area. Capital was donated from around the country to start the work. Homes were built and sold to families in need at no profit and no interest. The basic model of Habitat for Humanity was begun.

Zaire

In 1973, the Fullers decided to apply the Fund for Humanity concept in developing countries. The Fuller family moved to Mbandaka, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). The Fullers’ goal was to offer affordable yet adequate shelter to 2,000 people. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house building program, the Fullers returned to the United States.

Habitat for Humanity International

In September 1976, Millard and Linda called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream. Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) as an organization was born at this meeting. The eight years that followed, vividly described in Millard Fuller’s book Love in the Mortar Joints, proved that the vision of a housing ministry was workable. Faith, hard work and direction set HFHI on its successful course.

Phenomenal Growth

In 1984, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal involvement in Habitat’s ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat’s work across the nation. HFHI experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new affiliates around the country.

The Results

Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem – decent housing for all.

Today, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 300,000 houses, sheltering more than 1.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities worldwide.

   

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