FAQ

Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region is a unique organization with many components. Below are some frequently asked questions. If you need further assistance, please contact us.

 

Overall F.A.Q.s

How does Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region work?

Our partner families are hard-working, low-income families that dream of homeownership to better the lives of their children and themselves. To them, there is no better feeling than receiving the key to their very first home!  

Volunteers in our community help us build affordable housing which we then sell back to our partner families from this community as a means to break the cycle of poverty. We build safe, decent and affordable homes with the generosity and kindness of donors, volunteers, corporate teams and sponsors. Our partner families earn their homes by volunteering 250 hours, per adult, of “sweat equity” and will repay an interest-free mortgage. They give back to their neighbourhoods in order to fulfil their dreams of being homeowners.

100% of our administrative costs are covered by ReStores: nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centres that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building material and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price, up to 80% off! But it’s not just a bargain for you. It’s so much more! By shopping here, you’re helping hard-working families in Waterloo Region fulfil their dream of being homeowners and fulfilling our mission of breaking the cycle of poverty. By donating here, you’re helping a member of your community fulfil this dream. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are helping us build homes, build hope and build communities.

Does Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region give away homes?

We do NOT give away homes.  Instead, we give hard-working, low-income families a hand up, not a hand out. Each approved family earns their home by volunteering at least 250 hours, per adult, of "sweat equity" and purchases the home at fair market value.  They repay a zero-down, interest-free mortgage geared to their income (not a fixed amortization). Payments are determined annually and are set at 25% of the family's Gross Household Income. Our program takes away barriers to homeownership for families that can afford daily expenses but are unable to save for a down payment or pay off a traditional mortgage.

Who can apply for a Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region home? 

You might know a family who would qualify, or you might be the perfect family that would benefit from a hand up. For more information please refer to the "Homeownership" section of our website or contact our Family Services Manager (519-747-0664 Ext.236)

What happens if a partner family decides to sell their home?

The mortgage is designed to keep monthly payments low, encouraging long-term commitment. As long as the mortgage remains outstanding, Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region has the first right of refusal to purchase the property if the homeowner decides to sell.  However, if the homeowner decides to sell in the first 5 years of the mortgage, the family has to give Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region 100% of the capital appreciation.  For sales in year six, the family retains 10% of the capital appreciation, 20% in year seven, and so on.   After 15 years, the family retains all equity it has built up, and all capital appreciation in the value of the house. 

Do you have a policy for reporting illegal or unethical behaviour within Habitat Waterloo Region?
 
Yes, we always strive to promote a work environment of high ethical standards and accountability for board or committee members, volunteers, and employees. Please refer to our Whistleblower Policy for more information.

Volunteering F.A.Q.s

I am interested in volunteering, how do I sign up online?

Signing up for volunteer activities begins by clicking here and being directed to our online volunteer database where you'll be asked to create a unique profile.  You'll then be able to see our volunteer schedule and choose a date to volunteer that's best for us both.

Do you have to be a certain age to volunteer?

Volunteers at the ReStores and build site need to be at least 16 years of age. Any volunteer who is under 18 will need to have their "Volunteer Waiver" signed by a parent/guardian before their first volunteer shift.
 
Occassionally, there are events or other volunteer positions that do not take place in our ReStores or at our build site that allow some flexibility concerning the minimum age of volunteers. Please contact our Manager of Volunteers (519-747-0664 Ext. 223) to discuss current opportunities. 
 
Do I need to have experience or safety gear to volunteer?
 
Nope! We are always looking for willing people to come and build with us.  Join us as we swing hammers, run the power drills, paint the walls and clean the site. Whatever you do, we will offer the training, and the promise that you’ll do something significant to the whole build process.  And don't worry if you've never even hung a picture frame; building with Habitat for Humanity is super easy!  We offer you all the required and mandated safety training, a thorough orientation and supply you with the necessary safety equipment and tools including steel toe boots, hard hat and safety glasses.  You're always in good hands with Habitat for Humanity. 
 
How can I organize a team build?
 
We love hosting teams and welcome all kinds of groups. To organize a team build please review the team build page.
 
ReStore F.A.Q.s
 
Is the ReStore open to the public?
 
Definitely! When you shop at the ReStore, we can build more homes for local families. ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centres that sell new and gently used cabinetry, furniture, home accessories, building material and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price, up to 80% off! Plus, 100% of our inventory is made up of donations from companies, organizations and people just like you.
 
How do I donate items and will I be issued a tax receipt for my donation?
 
Please review the "ReStore - Donate" section of our website to find out how to donate items and what we generally accept. We will happily issue tax receipts for single items that are valued over $100 and for your kitchen and/or bathroom when it is salvaged by our crew.