Habitat for Humanity International

The inspiration for forming Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian farming community founded in 1942. At Koinonia, Clarence Jordan and Linda Fuller developed the concept of “partnership housing.” Partnership housing involves those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses. The houses are built with no profit added and no interest charged. Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Since its inception Habitat for Humanity has been able to build over 250,000 homes for families in need. Construction is financed by a revolving Fund for Humanity. 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 all contributed to this mission.

The program is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide. Habitat for Humanity is based on Christian principles and states that its mission is putting faith into action through the “economics of Jesus” and the “theology of the hammer.” The “economics of Jesus” consists of the donated labor of construction volunteers, the support of partner organizations, and the homeowners’ “sweat equity.” According to the Habitat for Humanity website, the “theology of the hammer” describes how “We may disagree on all sorts of other things … but we can agree on the idea of building homes with God’s people in need, and in doing so using biblical economics: no profit and no interest.” The organization has an open door policy: All who desire to be part of this work are welcome, regardless of religious preference or background.

Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity was established in 1986, partnering with families to build more than 280 homes in the City of Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, Charles City, and New Kent. Using the “theology of the hammer,” Richmond Habitat seeks to reestablish in their lives the hope and dignity that poverty housing strips away. Habitat’s partner families need to meet the employment and low-debt criteria for home ownership, agree to participate in classes to train themselves in managing their personal finances and maintaining a home, and contribute 350 hours of sweat equity. Families help to build other houses before construction on their own home even begins. They make a down payment; create an escrow account; and make monthly mortgage payments, often juggling multiple jobs and childcare responsibilities while pursuing their dream of homeownership. With the help of local volunteers, the Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity can keep construction costs low by providing free labor and services. More than 31,000 volunteers have participated in Richmond Habitat for Humanity projects since 1986. Individuals contribute in a variety of ways to Habit for Humanity projects. Some donate time, money, or a car; others offer their labor. Local churches participate in Habitat for Humanity by joining their church ministries program. The prayer, financial, and volunteer support that churches provide is the backbone of Habitat’s work.

Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity
2281 Dabney Road, Suite A
Richmond, VA 23230

Habitat for Humanity website
Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity website

Profiled prepared by Courtney Culbreath
April, 2008