About Habitat

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County

Mission: Habitat for Humanity of Orange County changes lives by bringing together God's people and resources to help families in need build and own quality affordable homes in safe and supportive communities. 

Vision: Everyone in Orange County has a decent place to live. 

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is one of 1,400 affiliates in the United States. Habitat for Humanity International has offices in 90 countries around the world. 

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County as a matter of policy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, or physical or mental disability for its clients, its employees, its volunteers, or the members of its Board of Directors.

A woman stands in front of a Habitat home in Guatemala

Two kids play in front of a Habitat home

Habitat for Humanity International

Mission: Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

Vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

All Are Welcome  

Habitat for Humanity has an open-door policy. All who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views, or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people. In short, Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and also serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion. As a matter of policy, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations do not proselytize. This means that Habitat will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must either adhere to or convert to a particular faith, or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.


Does Habitat give houses away? 
No. Homeowners buy their homes by paying off an affordable mortgage for 30 years. They also put in 325 hours of sweat equity building their homes and the homes of their neighbors.

Who are Habitat partner families?
They are people you know, children your children go to school with, people you see or work with everyday. Many have had to suffer through harsh living conditions including overcrowding, rotting floors, insect infestations, unsafe neighborhoods, inadequate heating systems, contaminated drinking water, and no indoor plumbing. 

How does having a Habitat home impact a family? 
With the security of a decent, safe home, Habitat families are able to turn their attention to improving other areas of their lives such as seeking more education, job training, and better employment. 

How does Habitat select partner families for new homes? 
Habitat’s volunteer Family Selection Committee reviews the applications and recommends families to the Board of Directors based on need, willingness to become partners in the program, and ability to repay the affordable mortgage. Families who earn between 30-60% of the area median income are eligible for Habitat homes. Families buy the homes and repay their mortgage over 30 years. Habitat does not consider race, religion, or ethnic background when choosing partner families.

How big is a Habitat home? 
The typical Habitat home is 1100 square feet with three bedrooms and one to one and a half baths.

How much does it cost to build a Habitat home?
It costs about $78,000 in materials to construct one Habitat home in Orange County. Habitat uses volunteer labor and charges no interest on the mortgage.

How does Habitat raise money to build homes?
Habitat for Humanity of Orange County relies on your support to build homes. In addition, Habitat sources its funds from state and local funds, corporations and small businesses, foundations, and faith partners.

How big is the housing problem in Orange County?
The average cost of a home in Orange County is $339,927. Rents are equally prohibitive: an average two-bedroom apartment costs $874 per month. Because of the high demand for housing and limited available land, decent housing options for a family living on a modest income are extremely limited. In particular, families have a very difficult time finding housing near Orange County's major employment centers such as UNC-CH and UNC Hospitals.

Meet a Habitat Family

Norbert Runyambo and Laurence Mukabatsinda

Norbert Runyambo and Laurence Mukabatsinda

After living as refugees, owning a home is particularly meaningful

Norbert Runyambo and Laurence Mukabatsinda are originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The family left for a refugee camp in Rwanda due to the genocide taking place in their home country. Ten years ago they moved to Maine, and then decided to relocate to North Carolina because of the weather and the increased educational and career opportunities for their children.

In the Congo, Laurence worked for a nonprofit that served women and orphans. Currently, she works as a nanny. Norbert was the Medical Director for South Kivu, a province of five million people. When he moved to the United States, he could not transfer his license as a physician, so he helped people who had disabilities in their homes. Now Norbert is retired, and spends his time with his family, and on the Habitat construction site—he has already completed 250 of his family’s required 325 hours of sweat equity! He plans to continue volunteering with Habitat even after their home is finished.

Norbert and Laurence have eight children—Esther, Daniella, Gentille, Paul, Michee, Loetitia, Jonathan, and Lydia. They also host their niece, Joelle, for part of the summer. The family is close knit, and Norbert and Laurence have encouraged their children to pursue their education. Many of the children take after their father’s interest in medicine, and some have expressed interest in economics, mechanical engineering, and computer science.

The family currently lives in Chapel Hill in a three-bedroom apartment. There are always at least eight people in the apartment, so space is tight. The family has always wanted a home, and they feel that it is especially important to feel settled after having lived as refugees. In addition, renting is very expensive and they will save money by having a Habitat home. The children want a stable place for their parents to live. In the future, they hope to take their own children there to visit.

Thanks to Orange County Schools and Sports Endeavors for sponsoring Norbert and Laurence's home--this work would not be possible without you! 

Board of Directors

Susan Hoerger, President

Sylvia Black

Kelli Thomas, Vice President

David McEntee

Joan Pharr, Treasurer

Suki Newton

Brian Curran, Secretary

Cami Schupp

Sue Harvin, Past President

Joann Shirer-Mitchell

Judit Alvarado

Rick Tugwell

Kathy Atwater

Harry Watson