Habitat FAQ’s

How many local homes has Habitat built to date?

Columbia County Habitat for Humanity most recently completed our 10th and 11th homes in 2021.

Does Habitat give houses away?

No. Habitat sells the homes to partner families with an affordable mortgage. Mortgage payments from homeowners contribute to building more new Habitat homes. Monthly mortgage payment amounts are based on income.

Can Habitat homeowners sell their houses and make a large profit because of the original low cost?

No. Habitat houses cannot be “flipped.” If a family decides to sell their home, Habitat has the first opportunity to purchase the home back. A “silent” second mortgage requires the homeowner to repay a portion of the difference between the affordable first mortgage and the fair market value of the home.

Are Habitat homes energy efficient?
Yes. We install heat pumps in our homes to save homeowners money on utilities. Also, all appliances installed are energy star certified.
How are partner families selected?

Families in need of decent shelter apply to the local affiliate and meet basic requirements:

  • Housing need: the applicant’s present housing is too costly, overcrowded, unsafe, temporary, etc. and the applicant is not able to solve this housing issue with their own resources.
  • Ability to Pay: All homeownership program participants must qualify for a mortgage to purchase their home and be able to make a small down payment. Factors to qualify may include a stable source of income and reasonable credit score.
  • Willingness to become partners in the program, which includes 400 hours of sweat equity and homeownership classes.
How often do you accept applications for homeownership?

Applications are accepted only after we have acquired land to build homes. Please call our office to be put on the notification list for the next home ownership opportunity. (503) 366-1400 x2

Is Habitat for Humanity a government program?

No. Habitat for Humanity is an independent, nonprofit, 501(c) (3) ecumenical Christian housing ministry. Habitat partners with national, state, and local government agencies to advocate and create affordable housing solutions. Habitat has received government grants for the acquisition of land and infrastructure, such as streets and utilities, dependent upon available local city, county, and federal programs and associated requirements.

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

No. Habitat for Humanity was founded in Americus, Georgia by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976, who dedicated their lives to eliminating poverty housing throughout the world. Former President Carter and his wife Rosalynn are Habitat’s most famous volunteers and enthusiastically support Habitat’s work. Each year they contribute to building projects in the US and other countries.

How can I help?

Habitat is always looking for volunteers to help build houses, but there are many other volunteer opportunities, as well. You may be interested in helping in our St. Helens ReStore, providing food for volunteers, or a number of other tasks that keep us running. Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted and help fund the costs of building and repairing homes.

Call Habitat at 503-366-1400 for any questions.