frequently asked questions

All your questions in one place.

What is Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry. We believe that every person should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. We build, renovate and repair houses all over the world using volunteer labor and donations. We welcome all people to work with us in partnership. We advocate to increase access to decent, affordable housing around the world.

How many people has Habitat served worldwide?

More than 1 million families representing 5 million people

Who are the founders of Habitat for Humanity International?

Millard and Linda Fuller

What role does Jimmy Carter play?

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity International began in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. Jimmy Carter is our first famous volunteer.

When was Habitat International started?


What are the three basic guidelines for homeownership?
  1. Need for affordable housing
  2. Ability to repay the mortgage
  3. Willingness to partner
Does Habitat give houses away?

No, Habitat for Humanity is not a giveaway program and makes no profit on the sale. Habitat homeowners purchase their houses through affordable monthly mortgage payments. Habitat’s homeowners also invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners.

How much of the Habitat home does the homeowner have to pay for?

All of it – Habitat homeowner’s pay a full 30-year mortgage.

What percent interest does the homeowner have to pay for their home?

Zero percent!

What is the sweat equity and how much of it is required?

Sweat equity is the 300-400 required hours – dependent on number of applicants – that new homeowners must spend working on their house, other people’s houses, in the ReStore or in other approved volunteer positions.

What is the ReStore?

The Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a nonprofit home goods store and donation center that sells gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

Funds raised by the ReStore are used to directly support the construction of affordable housing and numerous repair projects.

Does the ReStore pick up items?

Yes! Pick-ups are free for residents of northern Ocean County. To schedule a pick-up, please call the donation coordinator at 732-818-9500.

Who is your local affiliate’s Executive Director?

Suzan Fichtner

Does Habitat only focus on building new houses?

No, Habitat works in a myriad of ways in the community. Even more than new construction, Northern Ocean Habitat actively repairs homes for low-income, qualifying homeowners.  Our many programs include “Aging in Place”, Critical Home Repairs, Weatherization, Veteran Repairs, and Neighborhood Revitalization, and Cars for Homes.  We partner with group homes for disabled adults, we participate in global village trips (usually to Guatemala, our global partner), and we hold special events such as Women Build Week.  We have many partners including the American Red Cross where we support their Home Fire Campaign.  Our ReStore provides low-cost household items to the public, keeps tons of items out of local landfills, and of course supports our mission.

Our Disaster Response program also works with local communities to address a variety of housing needs after natural disasters.  In particular, Northern Ocean Habitat rehabilitated 60 local homes impacted by Superstorm Sandy!
How do I volunteer?

Fill out an online application and release and waiver form here or give us a call at 732-818-9500 for the ReStore Office or at 732-998-8638 for the Construction Office. We will get you scheduled for an orientation and you can get started in no time!

What is the first step toward purchasing a Habitat house?

If you are interested in the Habitat for Humanity program and have reviewed the requirements to see if you qualify, the next step is to submit a pre-application. We only accept applications when we have properties available and do not have a rolling application cycle. To get information about upcoming builds and properties and when we are accepting applications, please check our website and our NOHFH and ReStore Facebook page, or contact our homeowner services coordinator by filling out a contact form or calling at (732) 818-9500.

How are the applicants selected?

Applicants will submit a completed pre-application and paperwork during the open application round. If within income and eligibility guidelines, applicants will be contacted for an interview in which we will confirm information provided on the application and thoroughly discuss program requirements. Once all interviews are conducted, all qualified applicants will be placed into a pool and homeowners will be selected at random. It’s important to note that we usually have a larger amount of qualified applicants than homes available. The pre-approval selection of homeowners who will purchase houses from Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity is done by the Family Selection Committee in a way that does not discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or national origin.

Will background checks be conducted?

Yes. Habitat for Humanity does background checks on all household members over the age of 18.

What kinds of houses does Habitat build?

We typically build two to three bedroom, wood frame houses. Newly constructed homes do not have garages, basements (unless necessary) or usable attics. Habitat builds and sells simple, decent houses.

Habitat home rendering

Do applicants get to choose the location or design of the home?

No. Habitat does not build custom houses. Habitat will choose the size of the house based on the household size and makeup. We expect two children of the same gender to share a bedroom if they are close in age. The location of the house is dependent upon land acquisition and municipality partnerships. The location will usually be discussed during the homeownership application process.

How much will the Habitat house cost?
Habitat sells houses for less than market value, and the final selling price will not be determined until the house is complete. However, Habitat will ensure housing payments are affordable. Habitat partner families’ housing payments will not exceed 30% of the household gross monthly incomes at the time of sale.
What kind of repairs do you do?

We categorize our repair projects into 4 categories: Aging in Place, Critical Home Repairs, Neighborhood Revitalization and Weatherization. Read about them here!

How do I apply for home repairs?

Call us at (732) 998-8638 or review the Preliminary Application. After getting a little bit of information about your repair needs, we can send or assist you with completing a full application. You can pick up a repair application at our Construction Office at Ocean County Business Park 1889 US 9, Toms River, NJ08753 or online. You can also download a preliminary application and mail it to our offices with attention to Homeowner Services.

When do you take applications?

We are always accepting home repair applications. Qualify and apply today!

How do you select which projects to accept?
Do you work in other parts of New Jersey?

No – our affiliate only operates in northern Ocean County (Bayville and north). Visit to find the Habitat affiliate nearest you.

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