“I thought Habitat houses were free.”

A recent conversation with an occasional ReStore customer brought home the need to continue informing the public about the Habitat for Humanity homeowner application process. Many may be under the impression that Habitat provides homes free of charge to applicants. In fact, homeowners undergo a rigorous application process, agree to volunteer significant – “sweat equity” – hours with Habitat, and pay an affordable mortgage upon moving into the home.

The below information from Habitat for Humanity International offers additional insight into our process of helping families in need.


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? Are Habitat for Humanity houses free?

Families in need of decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership with their local Habitat for Humanity.

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.


We encourage you to visit the Habitat South Central Minnesota Homeownership page for more information.

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