Welcome to the “NUTS & BOLTS” New Volunteer Orientation

Welcome to the Nuts & Bolts orientation for new volunteers! We’ve prepared the following presentation to acquaint you with DC Habitat, the work we do, and what you need to know about our construction sites. The information comes in 2 parts, and we ask that you complete the short quiz at the end of each section. Please read on to complete Part 1.

History of Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Today, Habitat for Humanity is a true world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing.

Linda and Millard Fuller - 1970s

Linda and Millard Fuller – 1970s

Linda and the late Millard Fuller - 2005

Linda and the late Millard Fuller – 2005

Inception of Habitat for Humanity

In 1968, Koinonia Farm in Americus, GA laid out 42 half-acre house sites with four acres reserved as a community park and recreational area. Capital was donated from around the country to start the work. Homes were built and sold to families in need at no profit and no interest. The basic model of Habitat for Humanity was begun.


In 1973, the Fullers decided to apply the Fund for Humanity concept in developing countries. The Fuller family moved to Mbandaka, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). The Fullers’ goal was to offer affordable yet adequate shelter to 2,000 people. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house building program, the Fullers returned to the United States.

Expansion into Habitat for Humanity

In September 1976, Millard and Linda called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream. Habitat for Humanity as an organization was born at this meeting. The eight years that followed, vividly described in Millard Fuller’s book, “Love in the Mortar Joints,” proved that the vision of a housing ministry was workable. Faith, hard work and direction set HFH on its successful course.

Phenomenal Growth

In 1984, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal involvement in Habitat’s ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat’s work across the nation. HFH experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new affiliates around the country.

Habitat Today

Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem – decent housing for all. Today, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 500,000 houses, sheltering more than 2.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities worldwide.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C.

Simply stated, HFH DC’s mission is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness in the nation’s capital by building affordable, energy- and resource-efficient homes for people in need. Since its founding in 1988, HFH DC has built and renovated more than 200 homes in the District. More than 4,000 volunteers a year have contributed toward the construction of these homes.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. only works in DC and sells to DC residents. However, there are other affiliates which build in VA and MD. Houses are built using volunteer labor and donations. All fundraising is done locally and no financial support is received from donations made to Habitat for Humanity International unless the donor specifies.

HFH DC has partnered with hundreds of churches, companies, schools & community groups and provided construction skills training opportunities for local youth.

How Does Habitat Work?

We are a construction company, using volunteer and AmeriCorps service, and requiring each home buyer to invest between 200-350 hours of “sweat equity” helping to build their home and the houses of their Habitat neighbors. This enables us to build professional quality homes at affordable prices.


Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. and our mortgage servicing partners provide low- and no-interest loans on the below market values of the homes we build and sell. Home buyers pay a $500 down payment and $2,200 in closing costs in addition to their investment of hours of sweat equity. We reinvest revenue from home sales into construction of more houses.

Finally, we are a social service agency, reaching out to those who need affordable housing the most. Our Family Partnership Committee offers support to home buyer families through the purchase process, including credit counseling, financial literacy training, and other education.