Our History

Habitat for Humanity California is a statewide coalition of independent Habitat affiliates that serve communities across California. Habitat affiliates bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Habitat California advocates for affordable housing with specific focus on homeownership opportunities for families with limited-incomes.

Habitat California’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Our mission is to support, educate, and advocate on behalf of Habitat for Humanity affiliates in California.

What is Habitat for Humanity?

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in over 1,300 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. Habitat has served over 10,000,000 people around the world with housing needs. Habitat works toward our vision by building strength, stability, and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.

How does Habitat for Humanity help families?

People in your community and all over the world partner with Habitat to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.

How does Habitat for Humanity homeownership work?

Families in need of decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Each local Habitat’s family selection committee selects homeowners based on three criteria:

  • The applicant’s level of need.
  • Their willingness to partner with Habitat.
  • Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan.

As part of their willingness to partner, Habitat’s homebuyers invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners. Habitat for Humanity follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowners.

Does Habitat for Humanity only build new houses?

Habitat works in a number of different ways to create decent, affordable housing.

  • In addition to new construction, Habitat affiliates also renovate existing homes in many communities, particularly in urban areas.
  • Habitat affiliates preserve affordable homes by helping people repair and improve their homes and neighborhoods.
  • Habitat’s advocacy work raises awareness and support for affordable housing both globally and statewide in California.
  • Many Habitat affiliates in California offer financial counseling programs to prospective homebuyers to help prepare them.
  • Habitat’s Disaster Response program works with local communities to address a variety of housing needs after natural disasters.

How does Habitat choose partner families?

Local Habitat affiliates select partner families. To learn more about applying for a Habitat home, please contact your local affiliate directly.

Find your local affiliate

What is sweat equity?

Sweat equity is the work a future Habitat homeowner spends helping to build his/her own home as well as the homes of other future Habitat homebuyers.  It is a central principle in Habitat’s mission of building community and partnering with families to provide “a hand up, NOT a handout.”  Providing the opportunity for our future homeowners to work alongside volunteers and future neighbors to build their homes is one of the most unique, empowering, and rewarding aspects of Habitat for Humanity. It is important for a future homeowner to give consistent, active participation on the construction site and work side-by-side with volunteers from their community.

Are Habitat homes resale restricted?

Yes, Habitat homes are resale restricted to ensure homes remain affordable. Habitat homes are sold below market rate, therefore Habitat affiliates will protect the affordability covenant with resale restrictions or other tools. Ask your local affiliate what methods they use to ensure affordability.

Where is Habitat for Humanity in California?

  • There are 42 affiliates in the state representing all urban areas and most suburban and rural counties.
  • On average, Habitat affiliates build/renovate/repair 600 homes per year in California.

Find your local affiliate