The mission of Habitat for Humanity Washington D.C. is to reduce poverty housing and homelessness in the nation’s capital by building decent, affordable, energy-efficient homes for those in need.
Habitat D.C. builds a D.C. where everyone has a safe place to live. The organization builds and sells affordable homes, provides low-cost home repairs, offers financial education and advocates for policies that create more housing for struggling families. With the help of their partners, they help working families realize the dream of homeownership, breaking the cycle of poverty and building strong communities. When families have a stable place to call home, they can stop getting by and start to thrive.
A family’s housing is considered affordable if it costs no more than one-third of their income. Lack of affordable housing leaves working families vulnerable to hardships that can have a lasting impact. When housing, one of our most critical needs, is insecure, dangerous and unaffordable, families and communities suffer. Families who can’t afford homes with enough space may share a one- or two- bedroom with five or six people. High rents prevent families from saving for the future and leave many just one financial emergency away from eviction. Unaffordable rents can mean choosing between a roof over your head or buying healthy, nutritious meals for your children.
Children in unsafe, unstable homes suffer from stress and illnesses caused by poor living conditions that can result in worse grades. Families experience stress over financial insecurity and sickness from unsafe housing and often cannot afford medical care.
Habitat D.C. proves there’s no place like home.
“We are proud of our 30-year history building or improving affordable housing and leveraging homeownership as a catalyst for community transformation. We’ve built or repaired more than 250 homes during this period. As we look forward, we are committed to building for a future D.C. where poverty housing does not exist,” says Susanne Slater, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Washington D.C.
Each year, Habitat D.C. works with more than 1,000 volunteers to produce safe, decent housing for our neighbors. These dedicated volunteers serve on build sites and work alongside homeowners, support the office staff, attend rallies and advocate for affordable housing, and help raise the funds that allow them to keep building.
Habitat D.C. homeowner Sofia Sultan is grateful to these volunteers. Before she became a homeowner, her family of five—four adults and one child—shared a one-bedroom apartment. The stress of living in such a crowded home—with so little storage space that they kept their clothes in suitcases—began to take a toll on Sofia and her family, but finding a better option wasn’t easy.
“It’s hard to find a house in D.C. Even an apartment is not easy to find…I applied to so many [housing opportunities] in D.C. for five years. When they pick you and call you, you [know] you will have a future.”
The dream of owning a home—one that Sofia has had since she was a child—was becoming a reality. She even saw her sweat equity, the 300 hours she spent helping to build her own home, as an opportunity.
“By the end, you [feel like] a professional.” Now in their new home, Sofia says, “We are happier than before. And healthier too.”
Across the District, there are families who cannot afford to make repairs to issues in their homes that threaten their health and safety. In 2017, they launched a home repair program to address these critical needs. To learn more about donating to this worthy nonprofit, volunteering or becoming a business partner, visit DCHabitat.org.