Find the answers to your questions about volunteering, applying for a home, donating and more.
No. Habitat homes are purchased by first-time homebuyers who receive an affordable monthly mortgage that meets their budget. Families are responsible for a 1% down payment on their home, as well as completing 250-400 hours of sweat equity and attending financial and home maintenance classes.
Habitat homes are available to anyone who has a need for affordable, decent housing in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. We do not consider religion, age, gender, race or any other distinction that often divides people. Our staff will consider such things as income, current living conditions, and the ability to complete program requirements. The information found on our “Programs” pages will help you consider whether our homeownership program is right for you.
The Lancaster Lebanon Habitat For Humanity office is located at 443 Fairview Avenue Lancaster, PA 17603.
The ReStore address is 155 Independence Blvd. Lancaster, PA 17601
You don’t have to have construction experience to make a difference. Our trained construction crew will teach you skills on the work site. Or, if construction is not your preference, we have many other ways to lend a hand, including volunteering at the Lancaster Habitat ReStore, helping out at the office or special events, and participating on committees. See our volunteer page for more information. NOTE: On the volunteer page, you’ll also find new construction and ReStore safety guidelines related to COVID-19; please be sure to read before volunteering.
For safety reasons, construction volunteers must be at least sixteen (16) years old. Sixteen and seventeen year olds are permitted on-site only if accompanied by an adult chaperon and must include a parent or guardian’s signature on their Release and Waiver of Liability Form. For every four 16 and 17 year old we ask that there is at least one adult chaperon responsible for them on site volunteering. Additionally, 16 and17 year olds are not allowed to operate any power tools, work or climb on a ladder, roof, or scaffolding, or participate in any other hazardous activity. There is no maximum age limit for volunteering with Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, though we ask volunteers to keep in mind that construction work can be strenuous at times.
Directions to our construction sites are provided to those registered to volunteer, normally sent via e-mail. As our sites are typically in urban areas, parking is somewhat limited, and volunteers may need to drive a few blocks from the site to find open on-street parking. Carpooling is strongly recommended whenever possible.
Volunteers work on nearly every facet of home construction, helping with dozens of tasks ranging from painting and tiling to framing and insulating. Volunteers do not need to have any prior experience in construction.
Construction Sites: Wear work clothing, work boots or shoes with good soles (sneakers are not recommended, wear at your own risk), work gloves, a hat with a brim, such as a baseball cap, and a pencil. Bring your own work gloves and goggles, if you don’t want to wear used gloves or used goggles. Also, important to new COVID-19 safety guidelines, please bring a mask to wear while on site. You can find more information on proper use of masks through our construction and ReStore safety guidelines, on our Volunteer page.
Please remember to wear appropriate clothing for the weather and task. You will get hot, sweaty, and dirty in the summertime and your clothes may tear or stain. During the winter months, dress in layers. Heat is not always available at the work site. Long pants are a must for roofing work and long sleeves can help protect you from the sun.
Volunteers will get a morning break, as well as a lunch break, so they need to bring a lunch, drink and any snacks they may want. Additionally, volunteers are required to sign an Release & Waiver of Liability Form. We suggest that volunteers follow the weather report and bring things appropriate for the day – rain gear, sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, or extra layers of clothing may be useful things to have with you.
Sweat equity is the process by which families help build their homes and communities. Each partner family is required to put in up to 400 hours toward the building of their homes and their neighbors’ homes and learn how to care for their homes. (For our repair program, sweat equity hours are based upon the scope of the project.) The sweat equity requirement cannot be excused, but alternative projects will be arranged for partners who are not able to participate on the build site due to health concerns.
Another important aspect of the sweat equity requirement is homeowner education. Partner families attend workshops on the subjects of financial literacy, budgeting and home maintenance so that they are prepared for the challenges that often arise with homeownership and are confident in their abilities to solve problems.
Sweat equity hours can be earned for the following projects:
- Construction work
- Attending education programs and training sessions approved by Habitat
- Assisting at the Habitat Restore
- Participating in fundraising activities and public speaking
Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity works on houses five days a week, with most construction taking place on Saturdays. As a result, the work on one house typically takes between nine months and one year to complete.
Habitat houses are sold at fair market value. The actual dollar amount varies depending on the specific project. Homeowners pay a 1% down payment based on the cost of the house, and are sold with a 20 to 30-year affordable monthly mortgage. Payments to Habitat average between $700 and $1,000 per month (Mortgage loan amount + Real Estate taxes + Homeowner Insurance). As homeowners make their mortgage payments, the money is reinvested to build or rehabilitate houses for future Habitat families.
Lancaster Lebanon Habitat has a proven track record. Ninety-five percent of our homeowners live in their Habitat home and 67 percent have increased their income after purchase of their home. Through the education and counseling resources we offer, along with affordable housing prices, owning a home becomes a more sound investment. And with the stability that homeownership offers, individuals and families can make positive changes in their lives that were not possible before … increase their savings, further their education, send their children to college, to name a few.