Volunteer FAQ

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

Volunteers must be 16 years old or older. Volunteers under the age of 18 must bring a youth waiver signed by a parent, with them to the construction site on their scheduled build day. Minor volunteers may not operate power tools or work at heights above six feet.

When can I volunteer for construction?

The construction sites are open Wednesday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and we ask that volunteers commit a full work day. It is important to arrive on time so that you do not miss sign-in, safety instruction, and work crew assignments.

What if I’ve never done any construction before?

All skill levels are welcome. We assume no skills or prior construction experience, and the construction staff will provide plenty of instruction and supervision throughout the day.

What kind of work will we do?

All sorts of work takes place on a Habitat construction site. Please be prepared to assist in whatever the day’s tasks may be and remember that every job helps to build homes! If you have special skills, don’t be shy! Let construction staff know upon your arrival in case you can be of unique assistance. While tasks often include using power tools or working at heights, volunteers will not be expected to do any task that make them uncomfortable.

Should I bring anything?

We recommend bringing a water bottle, some sunscreen, and a lunch and some snacks (unless lunch is provided by your volunteer group). If you have any personal tools you’d prefer to use over the ones we provide, feel free! For example: a hammer, tape measure, carpenter’s pencil, work gloves, safety glasses, etc.

What should I wear?

Please wear closed-toe shoes or boots.  Tennis shoes are most common on the work site. Comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on or getting dirty.  Light clothing is recommended for the hot weather.  Layering clothing is recommended for cold weather.  Please wear rain pants and a jacket when working in the rain. You will not be allowed to volunteer on site if you wear sandals or flip flops.

What isn't allowed on site?

We strongly discourage you from bringing valuables, including jewelry, to our worksites. Personal power tools are not allowed. There is no smoking, drugs, or alcohol allowed on our worksites.

How do I sign up to volunteer?

Click here to register onlineVolunteers must schedule their build days in advance. Because it’s important to us that all our volunteers have a productive and rewarding experience, we only recruit the number of volunteers that we can safely and comfortably accommodate on each day. Therefore, volunteers must reserve a spot for themselves before their build day. When we have recruited the maximum number of volunteers that we can host on a particular day, we will no longer recruit additional volunteers.

What if I need verification for my service hours?

We are happy to provide a signed letter on our letterhead documenting your volunteer hours. Please request a letter for your total hours, after your last volunteer day is complete, by emailing marianne@habitatportlandmetro.org. Allow two weeks from your request to receive your letter in the mail. We cannot guarantee that we can provide your letter earlier, so please plan accordingly.

Guidelines for Construction Volunteers

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m.
We do not have set break times, but feel free to take a break whenever needed.
Be conscious of the safety of others and yourself.
Do not continue working on a task that you are unable to do or feel uncertain about.
Always ask questions.
Hard hats are to be worn when any overhead tasks are being performed.
Volunteers must wear protective glasses anytime they are operating power tools.
We work year-round and work outside in the rain. We only cancel work when there is dangerous weather.

Daily Breakdown

8:00 – 8:30 AM Site Host and Site Lead arrive.
8:30 – 8:45 AM Volunteers sign in by completing a waiver form and making a name tag.
8:45 – 9:00 AM Site Supervisor provides a safety talk, and assigns tasks for the day.
9:00 AM – Noon Work on assigned task.
Noon – 12:45 PM Lunch
12:45 – 3:30 PM Work on assigned task.
3:30 PM Clean up.

Further Questions

Still have questions about volunteering? Submit your question below and a Habitat representative will get back to you shortly.

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