As President of the United States, Jimmy Carter was deeply committed to social justice and basic human rights. He and his wife Rosalynn left the White House in search of meaningful ways to contribute in these areas. In addition to promoting peace and human rights through the nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta, they lead the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity International one week each year.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's involvement with Habitat for Humanity International began in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience planted the seed, and the Carter Work Project has been an internationally recognized event of HFHI ever since.
Each year, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter give a week of their time - along with their construction skills - to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing. The Carter Work Project is held at a different location each year, and attracts volunteers from around the world.
To learn more about the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, click here.
Through volunteer labour and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the community. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable, non-interest bearing loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.
Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labour - Sweat Equity - working in our ReStore, offices or for other non-profit organizations in the community.
Families wanting to partner with Habitat for Humanity Niagara to buy a home undergo a rigorous screening process, including credit and personal reference checks.
Families must also meet the following criteria:
- they must be currently living in substandard housing.
- they must be willing to volunteer 500 hours of Sweat Equity in the community.
- they must have a steady reliable income and are able to repay a zero-down payment, interest-free mortgage.
- they must be a legal resident of Canada.
- they must have satisfactory credit history.
- they must have discharged a previous bankruptcy for at least 2 years.
- they must have an annual income within the established guidelines.
To view the detailed Family Partner Selection criteria, click here.
Habitat does not charge interest on its mortgages, nor does it profit from them. Mortgage payments are geared to income. Mortgage payments from Habitat homeowners go directly into a fund to build more Habitat homes. The Habitat model empowers families to help other families.
Habitat Niagara receives support from and works in partnership with businesses, individual donors, foundations, community organizations, faith groups, and the ReStore. Revenue from the ReStore is used to cover adminstrative and overhead expenses which means that 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to building new homes.
Habitat homes are appraised at fair market value. Currently, a three-bedroom Habitat home in Niagara is approximately $180,000. Prices will vary depending on location and the costs of land, labour and materials. Habitat homes are affordable for low-income families because no interest is charged on the mortgage and payments are geared to their income.
Habitat for Humanity Niagara has the first right to purchase the property if the homeowner wants to sell and we purchase the home at the fair-market value, with the homeowner receiving the earned equity on the sale.
In addition to Habitat mortgage payments, homeowners are responsible for paying all utilities (gas, electricity, water, telephone and cable, etc.) and insurance on the house. Homeowners are also responsible for performing proper maintenance on the house and surrounding property while being a good neighbour in their community.
The Habitat for Humanity Canada Global Village program lets you travel abroad while building a home for a family in need of affordable housing. Trips are scheduled throughout the year to countries like Kenya, India, Thailand, Romania, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Find out more on the Global Village website.