Our mission and vision
Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County envisions a world where everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. Seeking to put God’s love in action, we bring people together to build communities and hope.
We are all neighbors
- Habitat for Humanity aspires to be first in the hearts and minds of the people of Whatcom County through a variety of ways, such as:
- Building new homes across Whatcom County
- Ending the cycle of poverty forever for our neighbors in need
- Creating opportunities for everyone to volunteer in service to their community
- Selling inexpensive furnishings and home remodel materials to our community through our store
- Diverting valuable recyclable materials that would otherwise end up in landfills, putting them back into productive use
- Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County envisions a community where there is no substandard housing.
- We aspire to be an organization valued for its efforts to decrease inter-generational poverty through affordable home ownership and we strive to mitigate the social consequences of substandard housing and poverty.
- A home is a family’s most important asset. Not only does it provide shelter; it is a place to develop and maintain social networks, access city services, raise children and make memories.
- Home ownership provides a source of wealth that can be passed down to future generations. Studies show children in stable living situations have better educational outcomes, and children of homeowners are more likely to own homes themselves.
- Communities with higher rates of homeownership benefit in lots of ways (additional tax revenue, less poverty, less crime, lower expenditures on social services).
- Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County envisions a home building process that maintains Habitat’s “Simple, Safe, Decent, Affordable” standards but also allows for the introduction of new or “green” materials and designs.
- Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County recognizes that the task of eliminating substandard housing in Whatcom County is too big to accomplish alone. We envision partnering with governments, other non-profit organizations, churches, civic clubs, businesses, foundations, and individuals to provide homeownership opportunities.
- Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County envisions a process where we recognize and value community networks and are engaged with a homeowner throughout the period of their mortgage.
The values we share
As a Christian Ministry and community organization, Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County believes that there are certain values that uplift, empower, and sustain us all. We believe in:
- Faith in Action. We strive to trust in God and seek His help and guidance at every opportunity. We have chosen, as our means of manifesting God’s love, to create opportunities for people to live in decent, durable shelter. We put faith into action by helping to build homes by partnering with others to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing as a foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty.
- A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out. Habitat sells the homes it builds and does not give them away. Habitat does not do the work for free, but at cost.
- Not to Profit From the Poor. We sell our homes for the cost of land and materials and then finance the homeowner’s purchase with an interest-free mortgage. A second mortgage covers the difference between the cost and the market value. This prevents partner families from profiting from the value of the gift of volunteer labor and being victimized by predatory lenders.
- Partnership and Community. We ask our Partner Families to volunteer over 500 hours of sweat equity in advance of purchasing their home. We invite individual volunteers, churches, civic clubs, businesses and other groups to help provide a support network to sustain the Partner Family in faith and community spirit.
- “Preach the Gospel Always, if Necessary Use Words.” We express our faith through the work we do, not through proselytizing, and provide ample opportunity for all volunteers to have a greater impact than a donation or supportive words alone can give. People are welcome regardless of their faith choice. It is not a requirement to be a Christian to volunteer or become a Habitat homeowner. We believe every Habitat for Humanity home is a lasting testament to how we as human beings care for each other and how God cares for us all.
- Local People Responding to Local Needs. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, is an independent community organization with a local board of directors governing a local staff and volunteers to help solve local housing problems with local community values. It is our desire to build community as well as homes.
- Financial Accountability and Sound Gift Stewardship. The board of directors requires that Financial Statements be audited annually. Any cash or in-kind gift that supports home construction is a gift that keeps on giving. The Partner Family purchases the home or receives repairs to their home with a mortgage underwritten by Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County. The income stream from the mortgage provides the cash for the next project.
- Simple, Safe, Decent, Affordable Home Design. Habitat is constantly vigilant to control costs and limit amenities to ensure affordability of its projects. Habitat is not a real-life version of Extreme Makeover.
- Careful and Thoughtful Stewardship of our Resources. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County continuously improves. We will build green homes and use green materials wherever practical and affordable. We will strive to make each volunteer experience pleasant, meaningful and memorable. We will donate unused or unsold materials and household goods from the Habitat Store so they may benefit others.
- Giving Back. As a Christian Ministry and as part of its covenant with Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County tithes 10% of its mortgage income to support home construction throughout the world. We currently designate our tithe to a sister affiliate in Costa Rica, approximately building one home in Costa Rica for every home we build here in Whatcom County. There is an opportunity to help build homes in Costa Rica and other countries.
- Nurturing Volunteers. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County offers multiple opportunities to participate in its mission. Volunteers are encouraged to work on building sites, in the Habitat Store or in the Habitat office. Our desire is to spread “Habitatitis” to every volunteer so they will continue to delight in Habitat’s mission, love doing its work and become advocates and ambassadors for Habitat for Humanity.
- Compassionate and Collaborative. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County coordinates with other agencies via referrals to seek solutions for substandard housing for those ineligible to receive Habitat’s services.