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 partners with families to create better, healthier, more financially stable lives. With our help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Through the use of volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds homes for families in need. Homes are sold with zero percent interest mortgages. Homeowners make monthly payments, which are set at 30% or less of their income, making homeownership an affordable reality.

In addition to building new homes, Habitat also partners with families who live in non-Habitat homes to assist them in making repairs to their homes, such as exterior painting, siding repairs, or cleaning, repairing, or installing ramps and handrails, etc. By offering repairs as well as new construction, Habitat ensures the most cost-efficient means of providing affordable and safe homes.

Habitat for Humanity is a private nonprofit organization that is funded through the generosity of local individuals, businesses, faith organizations, and foundations. Since 1984, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County has served over 260 families.

A woman stands in front of a Habitat home in Guatemala


Two kids play in front of a Habitat home

All Are Welcome  

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.

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.

Habitat for Humanity International

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. 

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.



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

Thein Oo and Lweh Eh Paw

Thein Oo and Lweh Eh Paw

Thein Oo and his wife Lweh Eh Paw are from Burma, and they met in a refugee camp in Thailand. After moving to the United States, Thein Oo began working at UNC as a housekeeper and was recently promoted to team leader.

The couple has a one-year-old, Chit Su Oo, and a five-year-old, Chit Ku Oo. The four of them live in a townhouse in Carrboro, but in the five years since they’ve moved to the United States, rent has risen drastically. The same unit costs $300 dollars more now than it did in 2011. They’ve always dreamed of owning a single-family home, but before Habitat, they didn’t have any affordable options.

Thein Oo and Lweh Eh Paw are excited to move into downtown Chapel Hill’s Northside neighborhood where he can easily get to work and the children will grow up around other children in a thriving community. They have friends who live in the neighborhood, and hope their children will one day attend the University of North Carolina!

Board of Directors

Judit Alvarado Sue Harvin, Past President
Kathy Atwater, Secretary Taylor Ludlam
Betsy Blackwell Suki Newton, President
Cathy Bryson Joan Pharr, Treasure
Andrew Burns Deondra Rose
Joe Canady Cami Schupp
Brian Chacos Shannon Kennedy
Brian Curran Kelli Thomas
Elam Hall, First Vice President Rick Tugwell