Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

What is Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity? What do you do?

We are a Habitat for Humanity non-profit affiliate in the Southern Fox Valley community. We are dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide, and work in partnership with people of all faiths and races to develop communities for people in need by building and renovating houses, while creating homeownership opportunities based on the premise of providing a hand up; not a hand out

Why does your work matter?

Research shows housing is at the core of healthy, vibrant families & communities. Affordable, stable, decent housing improves school performance, decreases crime, and enhances the mental and physical health of children and adults.

  • Affordable, decent housing provides strength, stability, and self-reliance
  • Owning a home provides a family with a sense of dignity and pride
  • Improves school performance, decreases crime, and enhances the mental and physical health of children and adults
  • Families in homes tend to have increased educational and job prospects
  • Safe homes and neighborhoods help to build social stability and security

To date, Fox Valley Habitat has built 70 homes in the community, contributing to the economy by paying over $3 million in property taxes and spent over $5 million in building costs and has only had one foreclosure in over 30 years.


Why do you ask for donations? Aren't you funded by Habitat for Humanity International?

We are a grass-roots organization that is responsible for raising all of our own funds. Many people believe that all of our materials are donated and that we receive our funding through Habitat for Humanity International. This isn’t the case. The vast majority of our funding comes from the generosity of individuals and organizations within our local community. Therefore, we ask the community and volunteers to join fully in our efforts by becoming financial supporters of our mission.


Where else does Habitat for Humanity operate? What are Habitat for Humanity affiliates?

Habitat for Humanity operates worldwide in over 70 countries. Habitat for Humanity’s work is accomplished at the community level by local affiliates: independent, locally run, non-profit organizations. Fox Valley Habitat has contributed to the economy by paying over $3 million in property taxes and spent over $5 million in building costs and has only had one foreclosure in over 30 years.


Did former U.S. President Jimmy Carter start Habitat for Humanity?

While President and Mrs. Carter are Habitat’s most famous volunteers and have worked tirelessly since 1984 to help families build houses and to raise awareness of the need for affordable housing, Habitat was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976.

The idea that became Habitat for Humanity first grew from the fertile soil of Koinonia Farm, a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, founded by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. There in the early ’70s, Jordan and the Fullers developed “partnership housing.” The idea centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses at no profit. To build more homes, new homeowners’ house payments would be combined with no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fundraising.

In 1973, the Fullers took the concept to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and launched a successful house-building program. After three years, they returned to the United States and founded Habitat for Humanity International. Learn more about Habitat’s history.


Who controls and manages the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliate?

A local volunteer Board of Directors determines policy and oversees the mission of Fox Valley Habitat. Day-to-day operations are managed by our Executive Director, along with our office staff.


Are Habitat homes given away?

No, we do not give away homes. Fox Valley Habitat homeowners purchase their homes with an affordable mortgage with a below market interest rate.


Isn't it cheaper to keep paying rent instead of a mortgage?

Rent for sub-standard apartments is usually more than the mortgage payment for a Habitat home.


How can I own a Habitat home?

The 3 criteria for becoming a Habitat Homeowner are needability to pay, and a willingness to partner.

The first step to be considered for a home, and to receive an application, you will need to attend a mandatory home orientation meeting. Each applicant accepted into our program agrees to:

  • Partner with us and provide required information and documentation
  • Attend a 9-week financial training course
  • Invest at least 350 sweat equity hours with us
  • Purchase a home with an affordable mortgage

What is required to apply for a Habitat home?

  • Have a need for affordable housing due to unsafe living conditions, overcrowding, accessibility issues, or rent higher than 30% of income
  • Be citizens or legal residents of the U.S. 
  • Earn a sufficient income to pay an affordable mortgage on their future home
  • Work for local employers
  • Have good credit with consistent payment history
  • Not have bankruptcies in the past 3 years
  • Be willing to enter into a 30-year partnership with Fox Valley Habitat and adhere to covenant restrictions in all mortgage documents

What is required after being accepted into the program?

  • Invest 350-500 “sweat equity” hours into building own home, and other future homeowner’s homes
  • Participate in a 9-week financial training course 
  • Maintain a good credit rating
  • Pay for down payment and closing costs

What are homeowners responsible for?

  • Mortgage, insurance on home, and real estate taxes 
  • Required to keep homes maintained and in good condition in accordance with the Habitat covenant
  • Strengthen the local community by paying property taxes and utilities, in addition to spending disposable income locally
  • May not rent their homes to encourage safer, owner-occupied neighborhoods 

How can I volunteer? Do I have to have construction skills?

We welcome people with any skill level to volunteer with us, even beginners. On-site construction leaders train volunteers in all aspects of building.