Women embracing

Does Habitat give away homes for free?

Habitat for Humanity builds with and sells houses to homeowner partners -- workforce families in need of decent, affordable housing. Because houses are built principally by volunteers, mortgage payments can be kept reasonable for those unable to obtain conventional financing. At Pikes Peak Habitat, mortgage payments are capped at 28-30% of homeowners' income. Habitat homeowners typically have incomes that are 30-80% of the median income in their area.

Pikes Peak Habitat homeowners invest 200 hours in “sweat equity”—building their own home or other Pikes Peak Habitat houses, and/or volunteering at our ReStores. In preparation for homeownership, they also take classes on finances, maintenance, and other topics.

Our homeowners need a hand up, not a handout.

Do Habitat homes reduce a neighborhood's property values?

Many studies of low-cost housing show that affordable housing has no adverse effect on other neighborhood property values. Habitat firmly believes our approach to affordable housing improves neighborhoods and communities by strengthening community spirit and increasing the tax base, while building better citizens through the cooperative efforts involved in Habitat construction.

Blueprints for a home
House with scaffolding and mountains in background

Does Habitat build inferior-quality homes?

Volunteers build about 90% of Pikes Peak Habitat homes, but this doesn't mean the quality is inferior. In fact, our housing inspectors regularly comment on how well our homes are built! Professional construction staff oversee the projects, and we work with local contractors for specialized services such as plumbing and heating. We are also a leader in increasing energy efficiency in our new homes.

Are Habitat homes restricted to members of specific groups, such as practicing Christians?

Habitat for Humanity was founded as and unashamedly remains a Christian ministry. However, homeowners are chosen without regard to race, creed or nationality — following the requirements of the law as well as Habitat’s belief that God’s love extends to all. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths or no faith — anyone who actively embraces the vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live!

Faith wall hanging
Girl drawing with crayons

Are Habitat homeowners dependent on government assistance?

While some Habitat homeowners do receive public assistance, most work at low- or middle-wage jobs. Habitat works in good faith with people who often are at risk in society, knowing that owning a home is not the answer to every problem, but that it can be an important step—often the first step—toward helping people break out of the cycle of poverty.

In addition, homeownership is proven to help reduce the need for government assistance. According to a 2021 study by Habitat for Humanity Colorado (PDF), homeowners reported a 52% decrease in public assistance programs after they moved into their new homes -- saving Colorado taxpayers almost $800,000 annually.

Is Habitat a government organization?

Habitat for Humanity International and all of its affiliates are not government entities. Habitat is an independent, nonprofit Christian housing ministry, not an arm of the government or of any particular church denomination. Habitat does accept government funds for infrastructure, utilities, capacity building or training, and house building, so long as those funds do not affect Habitat’s ability to proclaim its Christian witness.

Woman standing in front of the US Capitol Building
President Carter inside a house frame

Was Habitat founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter?

Habitat for Humanity International was started in Americus, GA, in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who have helped bring international attention to the organization’s homebuilding work. For nearly 40 years, they led the annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to help build homes and raise awareness of the need for affordable housing. Since the first work project in 1984, more than 2,000 houses have been built in conjunction with JCWP events.

Is owning a Habitat home more expensive than renting?

Mortgages through Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity are capped at 28-30% of a homeowner's income. Many people who apply to our program are paying a much higher percentage of their income on rent. Some live with relatives in overcrowded situations. Others may be forced to stay in conditions that are unsafe, unhygienic, or in poor repair.

When they become homeowners with Pikes Peak Habitat, they have the security of investing in home equity, building financial stability, knowing they have a stable place to live and won't need to move in search of lower rent, and occupying homes that are in good repair.

In addition, Pikes Peak Habitat homes are built to be energy-efficient, and we incorporate water-wise grass, plants, and trees in our landscaping -- leading to additional savings for our homeowners.

Meet and greet at the Mayoral Candidate Forum

Is lack of affordable housing such a large problem it can never be solved?

Decent, affordable housing is a huge issue, both in the United States and internationally. But Habitat believes that by continuing to build houses with people in need of affordable homes, by working with other committed groups, and by putting the issue of affordable housing on the hearts and minds of compassionate people everywhere, the problem can be solved.

Does Habitat give homes to undocumented immigrants?

As we've already mentioned, Habitat doesn't give homes to anyone -- our homeowners invest sweat equity and pay an affordable mortgage on the homes they purchase!

At Pikes Peak Habitat, one of our requirements for application to the homeownership program is that everyone in the household must be a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident. In addition, applicants must have resided in El Paso County for at least one year.

Sun shining through leaves
Row of Pikes Peak Habitat houses

Do Habitat homes have a high turnover rate?

The goal of Habitat's homeownership program is to help families build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Our goal is to partner with families to establish long-term stability and begin building generational wealth.

Occasionally, homeowners either cannot pay their mortgages or choose to sell their homes. Pikes Peak Habitat typically has a right of refusal to purchase these homes so we can ensure that they remain within the stock of affordable homes for future partner families.

Are Habitat homeowners unemployed?

Habitat is a mortgage lender, so individuals and families who purchase our homes must be able to repay an affordable mortgage. To qualify for Pikes Peak Habitat's homeownership program, applicants' gross household income must fall within certain parameters, based on number of people in the home.

Income sources may include job wages, child support, alimony, and Social Security benefits. Unemployment benefits don't count. Most of our homeowners work at low- to mid-income jobs in fields including education, healthcare, and customer service. Some have retired or rely on Social Security disability benefits.

An IT employee in Washington, DC, who couldn't afford to purchase a home until he worked with Habitat
Foundation of home with house standing next door

Does Pikes Peak Habitat only build homes in Colorado Springs?

No! Pikes Peak Habitat serves all of El Paso County, CO. Although our current construction site is located in Colorado Springs, we have also built homes in Fountain, and we are open to building on developed land (PDF) anywhere within the county.

We also work through advocacy, which includes supporting legislation such as Colorado's Proposition 123, working with neighborhood groups such as the Mill Street Coalition, and even hosting a forum on affordable homeownership for Colorado Springs mayoral candidates.

In addition, we contribute a tithe -- 10% of undesignated funds -- to Habitat affiliates in developing countries and Habitat international programs.

Does Pikes Peak Habitat only build new homes?

No! Pikes Peak Habitat operates a critical home repair program for seniors, veterans, and other El Paso County homeowners who are cost-burdened. Because of this program, many homeowners can remain independently and securely in their homes.

In addition, we rehabilitate and recycle homes. We accept donations, and Pikes Peak Habitat also retains the right to repurchase houses we have constructed if the homeowner decides to sell. We renovate these homes, if necessary, and then sell them to program-qualifying workforce families in El Paso County.

Happy couple outside their home