Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 and in the 40 ensuing years has worked in 1,400 communities in the United States and 70 countries around the world. It has built over 120,000 homes in the U.S. and has helped 6.8 million people across the globe achieve strength, stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable shelter.
Highland Park United Methodist Church began its association with Habitat for Humanity through its Carpenters for Christ, ministry in 1996, 10 years after the founding of Habitat’s chapter here. In the 20 ensuing years Carpenters for Christ and HPUMC have built well over 100 homes and repaired a dozen more houses, representing about 8% of Habitat for Humanity’s Dallas production. In addition, the Church has built over 200 homes in seven countries abroad with Habitat for Humanity International. HPUMC has been recognized as the largest single church partner with Habitat for Humanity in the world.
Currently HPUMC has embarked on a new commitment to Habitat to build or repair an additional 200 homes over the next 5 years. These homes will be located in both the U.S. and other countries. Combined with the homes already completed, this added commitment will bring the Church’s involvement to over 500 homes, directly affecting the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
The pattern of Habitat homebuilding is the same all over the world. Habitat home recipients are not given their homes; they purchase their homes on interest-free or very low rates of interest, which reduces approximately by one-half the cost of their housing and allows them to create equity as they pay down what are usually 25-year mortgages.
Habitat homeowners must qualify in poverty-level or slightly above income ranges and must contribute 250 hours of ‘sweat equity’ before they can occupy the homes they are purchasing. The sweat equity includes performing physical labor on their home and on their neighbors’ homes and in attending required classes teaching the basics of home ownership and financial responsibility.
The cost of fulfilling its commitments to Habitat for Humanity lies substantially outside the Church’s annual operating budget. This means that these commitments must be covered by designated ‘extra mile’ donations to Carpenters for Christ or as part of the Church’s capital campaign. It is hoped that more members and friends of HPUMC will be inspired by this great mission to housing that they will join in making the much-needed, and appreciated, donations.
You can also mail a check (with 'Carpenters for Christ' in the memo line) to HPUMC.
c/o Joe B. Fortson
3300 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX 75205
Contact Joe B. Fortson with any questions or comments.