Frequently Asked Questions


What is Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI)? 

HFHI is a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. HFHI’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. HFHI works toward our vision by building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.

How many homes has HFHI built? 

Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. With HFHI’s assistance, more than 500,000 homes have been built and more than 13 million people have been served.

What is President Jimmy Carter’s relationship to Habitat for Humanity? 

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.

Does Habitat for Humanity only build new houses? 

Habitat for Humanity works in a number of different ways to create decent, affordable housing. In addition to new construction, Habitat also renovates existing homes in many communities, particularly in urban areas. Habitat for Humanity helps people repair and improve their own homes and neighborhoods. Habitat’s Disaster Response works with local communities to address a variety of housing needs after natural disasters. Habitat’s advocacy work raises awareness and support for decent and affordable housing around the world. Outside of North America, Habitat works with partner organizations to serve even more families through innovative financing methods.

What are Habitat for Humanity affiliates? 

Habitat for Humanity affiliates are local Habitat for Humanity organizations that act in partnership with and on behalf of HFHI. Each Habitat affiliate coordinates all aspects of Habitat home building in its local area. Affiliates receive guidance from HFHI on programs and policies, but operate independently, raising all of their own funds to finance land purchases, home construction, and other expenses. Each year, Affiliates pays a tithe to HFHI which can be restricted by the affiliate for specific programs.


What is Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity (VVHFH)? 

VVHFH is an affiliate that seeks to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter in the Verde Valley of Yavapai County. We partner with low- and moderate-income families and assist them, giving them a hand up into first-time homeownership. We work with people from all backgrounds, races, and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need of a decent place to call home.

When was VVHFH founded?

VVHFH was founded in 1993 by a group of area residents concerned by the lack of affordable work force housing in our region. VVHFH completed its first home in 1996. After 23 years, VVHFH has built 13 and rehabilitated 3 homes; one in Sedona, two in Clarkdale, four in Rimrock and nine in Cottonwood.

Does VVHFH provide other service in addition to building and rehabilitating homes? 

Yes. VVHFH provides critical home repair. Since the program’s inception in 2016 more than 36 critical home repairs have been completed. These services can be interior and exterior work performed to alleviate critical health, life and safety issues or code violations, plus wheelchair ramps and stair repair or replacements for elderly, veteran and low income homeowners. The recipients of these services must meet the same requirements as homeowner applicants.

Are the houses free? 

No, the homes are not free. Approved homeowners pay an affordable mortgage.

How does Habitat for Humanity homeownership work?

Families in need of decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership with their local Habitat for Humanity. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.

Each local Habitat’s family selection committee selects homeowners based on four criteria:

  • The applicant’s level of need.
  • Their willingness to partner with Habitat.
  • Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan.
  • Ability to qualify as a low-income family according to state and federal guidelines

As part of their willingness to partner, Habitat’s homebuyers invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners. Habitat for Humanity follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowners. All applicants are required to attend an orientation session. They submit an application and supply a variety of documentation to support their application. The Selection Committee reviews the applications and selects qualified families for home visits and interviews.

How is “need for housing” defined? 

“Need for housing” can mean a few different things in the selection process. Usually it means the family is experiencing one of the following: Substandard Housing: Has issues that create health and/or safety problems (mold, unsafe neighborhood, poor heating or plumbing, etc.), or too few bedrooms for the number, ages, and gender of household members; Temporary Housing: Temporary living arrangements or transitional/subsidized housing; or Housing that is too expensive: 30% or more of gross income is being spent for rent.

What is “Sweat Equity”?

Sweat Equity is the time and effort that homeowners contribute toward the purchase of their home through the construction of theirs’ and others’ homes. It is a central principle in Habitat’s mission of building community and partnering with families to provide “a hand-UP!” Following approval of the Board of Directors, the homeowner must complete the required number of sweat equity hours, but more important than the number of hours is their consistent, active participation on the jobsite.

How many hours of “Sweat Equity” must a homeowner contribute?

A single applicant must provide 300 hours of service and a dual applicant family must provide 450 hours. One half of the homeowner hours may be completed by the homeowner’s friends and family. Most families far exceed the minimum required numbers of hours.

Who are VVHFH’s partner families?

Habitat works with all types of families, but a typical partner family is a hardworking single parent of three, earning between $16,450 – $32,900 a year. To qualify as a partner family with VVHFH, a family has to be able to: (1) pay a mortgage; (2) demonstrate need for housing; and (3) partner with VVHFH through the sweat equity process to build and purchase their home.

How much does a partner family pay for a Habitat Home?

Habitat homes are sold to partner families at a reduced cost, making our homes extremely affordable. Habitat homes have an affordable interest rate and average a 30 year mortgage. Mortgage payments vary depending on the size of the house and can be affected by the cost of real estate taxes and homeowners insurance. However, the monthly payment cannot exceed 30 percent of the homeowner’s income.

How does the partner family finance the home purchase?

VVHFH in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a low interest mortgage for each family, with terms tailored to the family’s ability to pay.

Who maintains the home once the family has moved in?

Like any homeowner, the family is responsible for home maintenance, as well as mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and utilities. VVHFH provides guidance regarding home maintenance through a special mentorship program.

Where does VVHFH build, and how are sites selected?

VVHFH serves the Verde Valley of Yavapai County. We build (and rehab) homes in all Verde Valley communities, wherever we can find affordable property suitable for home construction and meets our construction requirements.

How does VVHFH acquire property?

Our properties are purchased or obtained through donation.

How are homes built?

Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, we build simple, decent, affordable homes. Partner families, individual, corporate and faith-based volunteers work alongside our construction crew to build each home. VVHFH is not a giveaway program. Each adult member of the family who will live in the home (partner homeowner) is required to contribute sweat equity hours, or volunteer labor. They do this by volunteering to build their home and homes of others. Once a partner family moves into their new home, they will pay monthly mortgage payments over a fixed-year term. They also have the same home owner obligations as any other home owner in the community.

Are all the people who work on the homes volunteers?

No. The Construction Manager is a VVHFH employee and has significant building experience. Professional crews are also utilized for some services, such as plumbing, roofing, and electrical systems. Many of our professional crews provide their services either free or at a reduced cost as a way of donating to VVHFH.

Who can volunteer with VVHFH?

VVHFH welcomes individuals and groups to work on our construction sites, at our ReStore, or in the office. You must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer on a construction site. We have a real need for skilled volunteers, but anyone can help – you will learn on-site from our experienced site supervisors.

How long does it normally take to build a Habitat home?

Like any construction project, construction variables (such as the weather and inspection approvals) have an impact on the timeline. However, construction of a home takes approximately six months to complete unless the build is part of the Home Builders Blitz Program.

What is the Home Builders Blitz?

The Home Builders Blitz brings together professional homebuilders from all over for one shared purpose – to build safe and affordable housing for families in need of a decent place to call home. The Blitz occurs over a short period of time, usually one to two weeks.  Professional home builders volunteer to help construct, repair or revitalize homes, working alongside Habitat homeowners.  Habitat and homeowners aren’t the only ones who benefit from Home Builders Blitz. Homebuilders deepen ties to their community, allowing them to collaborate with other builders in their area, to connect with subcontractors and to incorporate other corporate sponsors in the homebuilding industry who share their company’s values.

What type of houses does VVHFH build?

VVHFH builds and rehabilitates homes, typically with two or three bedrooms. With our new construction projects, we make every effort to have the architectural design match the neighborhoods where we are building. Whether the home is rehabilitated or newly constructed, two bedrooms or three, all homes are built with care for the family who will be living there and for the neighborhood where it is located.

Are VVHFH homes green?

YES! Building green is inherent in VVHFH’s mission of providing decent, affordable housing for all. Sustainable housing is not only better for the environment; it is more economical for our families and has a positive social impact on the communities where we build. All homes we build are Energy Star Certified and aesthetically contribute to the surrounding homes in the neighborhood. The homes we built are simple, comfortable and affordable for the partner family.

Does VVHFH partner with other community organizations, or local, state, and national government officials and organizations?

To build community, we must practice community. VVHFH works closely with our built-in network of local Habitat affiliates, as well, we collaborate with a number of federal, state and city funding organizations. Building in neighborhoods requires that we have strong community partners. Before building, we have the support and cooperation of local neighborhood associations and coalitions in each area that serve as strong community anchors for Habitat.

What kind of donations does VVHFH accept?

VVHFH depends on financial donations to fund our work. These donations help families build a place they can call home.  We also have local home improvement stores called Habitat ReStores, which sell reusable and surplus building materials, furniture and appliances to the public. The money made from these sales is used to help families build a better future.  Habitat ReStores are open to the public. The Restore accepts all appropriate donations at 737 S. Main Street, Cottonwood.

What is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore?

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, tools and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build strength, stability and self-reliance locally and around the world. Our ReStore helps keep over 200 tons of refuse from filling landfills annually.

How does someone become a volunteer?

VVHFH cannot fulfill its mission and work without the generous support of or volunteers. Dedicated volunteers save VVHFH approximately $173,464 annually. For an application and overview of volunteer opportunities please visit the VVHFH website at or contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 928-649-6788.

Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity
737 S. Main Street
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
(928) 649-6788

Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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