FAQ

Volunteer | Homeownership | Home Repair

How does the Habitat for Humanity program work?

Families partner with Habitat for Humanity and invest their own “sweat equity” building their home alongside Habitat volunteers and staff. Habitat homes are sold to qualifying families at no profit and are financed with zero or low interest loans. We also offer home repair services to low-income, existing homeowners. To encourage and support self-sufficiency we also offer free financial literacy classes to the public and to our Habitat homeowners in neighborhoods where we build.

How does Habitat Bucks obtain the land?

Sometimes land is donated to Habitat and other times, Habitat must purchase the land on the open market. Whenever we can, we look for opportunities to purchase at below-market rates to keep costs to our homeowners as low as possible.

Are your homes green?

Yes! Habitat Bucks homes meet strict ENERGY STAR® standards (windows, doors, appliances etc.), and are constructed with sustainability in mind.

Who are the Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County partner families?

Habitat Bucks works with an underserved community in our county. In order to partner with Habitat, families must meet income guidelines, have the ability to repay a mortgage, demonstrate a need for housing and complete a minimum of 200 hours of sweat equity building their own home and the homes of other Habitat Bucks’ families.

What is your connection to Habitat for Humanity International?

Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County is an independently-funded local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Donations to Habitat for Humanity International fund housing programs outside the US, while donations to Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County fund housing programs right here in our county.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF BUCKS COUNTY

Vision

We build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter and believe everyone deserves a decent place to live.

Mission Statement

Building Homes, Empowering Communities

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY INTERNATIONAL

Vision

A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Mission Statement

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build home, communities, and hope.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Founded in Americus, Georgia, USA, in 1976, Habitat for Humanity today operates around the globe and has helped build, renovate, and repair more than 600,000 decent, affordable houses sheltering more than 3 million people worldwide.

How is Jimmy Carter involved with Habitat for Humanity?

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are our most famous volunteers! Their involvement with Habitat for Humanity began in 1984 when the former president and first lady led a work group to New York City. Ever since, both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter give a week of their time each year to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing.

VOLUNTEER FAQ

I’ve never held a hammer in my life. can I still work on a build site?

Yes! We provide the training you will need on site. No previous construction experience is required to volunteer with us. Please be aware that construction is a physically demanding activity.

How old do I have to be to work on a build site?

At our construction sites: Volunteers age 16-17 may build only with their parent/legal guardian building along with them and may not use power tools. Ages 18+ may volunteer independently. All volunteers under 18 must complete our online waiver and have a (paper) waiver signed by their parent/legal guardian. Please understand these are safety and insurance restrictions.

At our ReStore: Volunteers ages 14-15 may volunteer only with their parent volunteering and supervising them. Ages 16+ may volunteer independently. All volunteers under 18 must arrive with a waiver signed by their parent/legal guardian.

Where are your volunteer sites?

We are currently building a home in Croydon (Bristol Township), PA and  in Levittown, PA.

We’ll soon be in Morrisville again and have other homes planned in Bristol. Several homes will be renovated homes for faster and greater impact in the Bucks County community.

We also have TWO ReStores: Chalfont and Langhorne

 

What days can I volunteer?
  • Construction sites: Wednesday–Saturday
  • ReStores: Tuesday–Saturday
  • Offices: Monday-Friday
How do I sign up to volunteer as an individual?

Check out the opportunities on our Volunteer page!

Or visit volunteer@habitatbucks.org

How do I sign up a group?

We have different volunteer capacities (from 5-15) depending on the site and day of week. Please complete our Volunteer Group Inquiry Form.

What should I wear?
  • Closed toe, sturdy shoes or boots are required (construction and ReStores)
  • Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or ruined. No short shorts or tank tops.
What should I bring if I am a construction volunteer?
  • Lunch, water bottle, sunscreen, hat
  • Leave valuables at home – no storage on site
  • Wear layers for weather changes
  • Bring your own work gloves if you think they will fit better than ours
Are there other ways to volunteer that aren’t construction?

Yes! Click to Sign Up

  • Office: data entry, graphic design, social media
  • Speaker’s Bureau: represent Habitat Bucks at tabling events
  • Event photographers
  • Lunch providers for construction teams.
How do I get my volunteer hours verified?

Our cloud based volunteer system will offer you the ability to confirm hours for school or your own knowledge. Community Service hours that are court ordered are confirmed upon completion of the application and service. There is a specific procedure for all Community Service applicants. Click here for instructions.

How can I give my feedback?

We always welcome feedback. Please call us at 215-822-2812 x 313 or email us at volunteer@habitatbucks.org with any questions, concerns, or advice you may have about your volunteer experience.

Homeownership FAQ

Do you have a waiting list?

No. However, we do maintain a database of interested persons who will be invited to apply for a home in their area.

Do you give homes away?

Habitat Bucks’ families purchase their homes with no- or low-interest mortages; they also pay taxes on the full value of their home. See homeownership explained.

What is a “first-time homebuyer”?

Anyone who has not owned a home in the last three years as defined by HUD. For exceptional conditions, please contact us.

What is sweat equity?

“Sweat equity” refers to our homebuyers’ hands-on involvement in building Habitat homes and volunteering at other Habitat Bucks programs. A minimum of 200 hours is required of all homebuyers.

Can I rent a home from Habitat Bucks?

No. We do not offer rental, transitional or emergency housing. If you are suffering a housing crisis or need immediate assistance, please call Bucks County’s Housing Link at 1-800-810-4434.

Can I rent my house?

No. The financing structure of the home purchase restricts a Habitat Homeowner from using the house as a rental property.

Can I sell my house?

Yes, our homeowners are free to re-sell their homes in the future.

How much do the houses cost?

Houses are less expensive than market rate homes since they are built with the help of volunteers. The full cost of each house is the market rate for the time and area in which it is built and sold.

The financing of each home is structured to be affordable for our homebuyers, who obtain zero- or low-interest mortgages that cost less than 30% of their gross monthly income.

How long does the process take?

The application process typically takes three to five months, depending on the number of applications received for a particular home opportunity. Construction or renovations begin only after a partnering family is selected; construction work is typically completed within one year.

I am single. Can I still apply?

Yes! Our Habitat Bucks homebuyer households include all family sizes.

I have bad credit. help!

Having a satisfactory (doesn’t have to be perfect) credit history is important when applying for our homeownership program because you will eventually be applying for a mortgage. For more information on credit counseling, contact us.

Can I customize my Habitat home?

In an effort to keep costs low, only certain cosmetic options will be available (such at countertop, cabinet and carpet colors). Any customization (special flooring, painting, etc.) is not permitted until after you purchase the house. However, if you have a specific need due to a disability, we will make reasonable accommodations.

Home Repair FAQ

What kind of repairs does Habitat Bucks do?

The goal of Habitat’s A Brush with Kindness home repair program is to help make your home safe and accessible, and to help preserve it. Typical repairs to the exterior are installation of handicap-accessible ramps and railings; landscaping to improve drainage or safety; repairs to siding, doors, windows, or porches; and minor structural repairs. Typical interior home safety repairs are adding grab bars and railings, reducing tripping hazards, improve lighting, and minor safety modifications to a bathroom or kitchen.

How to do I apply for help with home repairs?

Simply fill out the inquiry form on the home repair webpage and a staff person will contact you. Or call or e-mail Karen Reever, 215-822-2812 x304, k.reever@habitatbucks.org.

What does it cost? How do I pay for it?

Homeowners pay a percentage of the total cost based on their income. Habitat keeps costs low by using volunteer labor to assist construction staff. Habitat Bucks raises money from sponsors to help fund the full cost. Homeowners pay up front or use a no-interest loan from Habitat Bucks and pay back over time. Homeowners are required to partner in all aspects of the project including some form of “sweat equity”.

Who is eligible for home repair from A Brush with Kindness?

An applicant must own and live in a home in Bucks County needing repairs. Total household income must be under 80% of Bucks County’s median income. The homeowner demonstrates a need for assistance to do the repair due to disability, frailty, demands of single parenting, or other family circumstance. The homeowner is current on their property taxes and mortgage.