Frequently Asked Questions

How does Habitat for Humanity operate?

Habitat homes are built with a volunteer labor force, utilizing building materials and services that are donated by local business as well as individual and corporate donations. Working in partnership with individuals, businesses, neighborhood groups, and organizations, Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East has built over 295 simple, decent homes since 1981.

What area does Habitat Portland/Metro East serve?

We build homes within Multnomah and northern Clackamas Counties.

What makes Habitat for Humanity unique?

Habitat for Humanity does not build homes for people, but with them as equal partners. Homeowners must invest 500 hours of “sweat equity” into the building of their home. The homes are then sold at no profit, with a 0%-interest mortgage. Each homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund that is used to build more local Habitat homes.

Does the Portland/Metro East area really need an organization like Habitat?

Yes. The decrease in affordable housing locally is staggering. The median sale price for a Portland home in 2006 was $270,500. Typical rent for a two-bedroom apartment ranges from $700-$1,000 per month. Over 1,000 families contact Habitat for Humanity Portland/ Metro East each year to find out more about our program.

What income level qualifies one for a Habitat for Humanity home?

Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East serves low-income families earning 30% to 60% of the Portland area’s median family income (MFI) or approximately $20,800 – $41,640 for a family of four. Habitat is the only program in town that offers homeownership opportunities to families in the 30% bracket.

How are families selected for homeownership?

Families are selected based on the following criteria:

  • First-time homebuyer.
  • Citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Currently living in substandard or subsidized housing, and earning 30-60% of Portland MFI.
  • Ability to repay a mortgage (satisfactory credit and stable income).
  • Willingness to partner with Habitat.

How much does a Habitat for Humanity home cost?

The purchase price of a home is based on the cost or value of the materials, with nothing added for volunteer labor. Currently our local homes cost around $150,000 to build. Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East holds the no-interest mortgage, and adjusts the length of the mortgage so that the monthly mortgage payment is 25%-30% of that homeowner’s gross monthly income.

Does Habitat for Humanity exist in other cities?

Yes. Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East is one of over 2,300 active affiliates in 100 countries, including all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. In fact, Habitat for Humanity is the 11th largest homebuilder in the United States.

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