fbpx Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the United States and in more than 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward this vision by building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.

Are Habitat houses free?

No, Habitat houses are NOT FREE.

Families who are in need of decent and affordable housing apply to their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Their ability to repay an affordable mortgage, as well as their level of housing need and willingness to partner with Habitat, are among the selection criteria for becoming a Habitat homeowner.

Habitat for Humanity provides a 0% interest mortgage for our partner families to invest in. Once a homeowner receives the keys to their home, they must make on-time monthly payments toward that zero-interest mortgage.

Future homeowners put in a lot of work prior to receiving their keys as well. They complete several hundred volunteer hours called Sweat Equity. Sweat equity can take the form of building their own and other Habitat homes, providing retail assistance at a local Habitat ReStore, performing important tasks at their local Habitat office, and taking financial education and homeownership classes to prepare them for owning their future Habitat home.

What is the difference between a Habitat Affiliate and Habitat International?

Habitat for Humanity Affiliates are independently run nonprofit organizations at the local level, providing safe, decent, and affordable housing for hardworking low-income families. Each affiliate coordinates all aspects of a Habitat for Humanity home, including fundraising, building, partner family selection, and mortgage servicing.

Habitat for Humanity International is the parent organization overseeing the operations of Habitat for Humanity affiliates throughout the world. HFH International is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Habitat was originally founded in Americus, Georgia, USA in 1976. Habitat for Humanity today operates in all 50 states and over 70 countries around the globe. HFH has helped build, renovate, and repair hundreds of thousands decent and affordable houses, sheltering more than 46 million people worldwide.

Learn more about our history here: Habitat’s History

Is Habitat for Humanity a Christian organization?

Yes, we are a global nonprofit Christian housing organization, but all who desire to be a part of this work are welcome, regardless of religious preference or background. We have a policy of building with people in need, regardless of race, religion, or any other dividing criteria. We welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.

Which areas or cities do you build in?

Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity can build homes anywhere within Cass or Clay County, which includes Fargo, West Fargo, Moorhead, and all the rural communities surrounding, like Casselton, Barnesville, Glyndon, Hawley, and Dilworth. The locations we build depend on where lots are available for us to purchase at a discount or donated to us.

If you do not live in Cass or Clay County, there are many Habitat affiliates in other communities that you might be able to apply for. Find your local affiliate here: Find Your Local Habitat

How many houses do you build each year?

The number of homes we build each year depends on our budget and the amount of funds that our organization can raise throughout the year. We strive to build at least 3-4 homes per year.

How can I support Habitat’s mission financially?

While our homes are not given away, we do rely on donations to build the homes initially. All gifts are matched by the homeowners as they repay the cost of their home through a mortgage.

Donations can be made by:

  1. Individuals
  2. Corporate Sponsorships
  3. Churches
  4. Service/Networking Groups

Some of the ways you can donate are:

  1. Online (one time or recurring gifts) at lakeagassizhabitat.org/#donate
  2. Send a check to LAHFH: 210 11th St N Moorhead, MN 56560
  3. Setting up a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign
  4. Donations taken out of your paycheck, using Benevity or a similar portal
  5. Through contributions from your investment accounts
  6. Donations of stocks and/or bonds
  7. Real estate donations
  8. Vehicle donations, through our Cars for Homes program.  *this is coordinated through Habitat International, but the majority of the funds raised stay local
  9. Leaving a legacy through planned giving


If you have any questions, contact Pete Christopher, Resource Development and Marketing Coordinator at (218) 512-0109 or pete@lakeagassizhabitat.org


How does Habitat for Humanity homeownership work?

Families in need of decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership with their local Habitat for Humanity.

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

  • The applicant’s level of need.
  • Their willingness to partner with Habitat.
  • Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan.

Habitat’s partner families invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called Sweat Equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners, in addition to paying an affordable mortgage and receiving homeownership classes.

Habitat for Humanity follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowners.

How does Habitat decide where to build? Can I ask for a specific location?

Habitat acquires land either through purchase or donation, so we have limited areas where we build. Applicants who want to be part of our program will need to be open about the location of their future homes and willing to live where we are currently building.

Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity staff will decide the location where to build your Habitat house if you are selected based on the current/upcoming construction sites around the time they are selected. If your family is unable to move across state lines, we will try our best to accommodate your situation, however we do not always have lots available in both ND and MN each year.

Is there a religious requirement to apply for the Habitat program?

No, there is no religious requirement.

Habitat builds houses with anyone who meets our criteria – regardless of race, religion, or any other difference. Although Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization, without affiliation to any denomination, we believe that God’s love extends to everyone. There is no religious, cultural, racial, or any other criteria that divide potential Habitat homeowners.

Our volunteers and homeowners come from the entire local community. We welcome and embrace partners and volunteers from any faith, as well as those who have no religious faith. We observe all Fair Housing guidelines.

Why is homeownership so important?

The quality of housing has major implications on health. A home with mold, rodents, and pests can trigger or cause chronic respiratory conditions, including asthma. Overcrowded or substandard housing poses a risk to the health and physical well-being of families and their neighbors and facilitates the spread of infectious diseases. This is especially true when families are required to shelter at home for long periods of time.

A safe, decent, affordable place to live can make a real difference in the life of a family. Homeownership has long been the primary way for families to build wealth. Homeownership also offers stability because monthly mortgage payments are predictable, whereas rent can increase yearly.

A stable home is important for academic achievement. Children who change schools as their families move in search of more affordable housing can struggle to keep up academically. Studies have shown, even when adjusting for all other variables, children raised in a home owned by their parents perform better in school than their peers living in rental housing.

Homeowners enjoy stability and self-reliance. Homeownership leads to strong healthy families. This is why we build.

When can I apply?

Our homeowner applications open the first week in July and are due the first week of August. When filling out the application, please note that you are applying for a home that will be built two years after your submission. This gap allows time for the partner families to be selected and complete the required sweat equity hours.

Click here to apply: Apply Now


What is the ReStore?

The Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a home improvement outlet store. We are open to the public and all sales generated from the store supports our mission: building affordable homes alongside families in need.

Our inventory includes donated appliances, cabinets, furniture, windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, lighting, tools, and much more. It’s the perfect place for bargain seekers and DIYers to shop and find great deals for everything from small projects to large home remodeling updates.

Donations from local contractors, retailers, metro area businesses, and people like you ensure that our inventory changes daily!

What kind of items does the ReStore accept?

*For all donations, the truck driver and store staff have the right to refuse an item if they feel it does not meet our quality standards. This decision will not be overturned by management.

●   Cabinets, up-to-date and not damaged

●   Furniture in good condition, no rips or stains, dressers, tables, couches, chairs, bedroom sets, bookshelves, etc.

●   Appliances in good working condition – Fridges, washers & dryers, ranges, etc.

●   Doors and door accessories

●   Plumbing: usable fixtures, parts, and supplies

●   Electrical: usable fixtures, parts, and supplies

●   Windows: insulated glass, no broken glass, no sashes or old storm windows accepted

●   Hardware: knobs, hinges, locks, nails, cabinet pulls, nuts, bolts, screws

●   Lumber: clean, no cracks, splits, or nails; at least 4 ft. long

●   Roofing: no scrap metal materials please, bundled shingles & tar paper

●   Carpet: new, no used carpet, at least 12’ X 8′ in size

●   Tools: hand, garden, working power

●   Flooring: wood (clean), ceramic tile, vinyl, laminate

●   Kitchen and bath fixtures: neutral color, vanities, lighting, toilets & sinks. Toilets must be 1.6 gallons or less

●   Millwork/trim: wood casing and base (clean), vinyl base, ceramic. Nails must be removed.

●   Furnaces and air conditioners

●   Paint: full gallons from businesses only. No used paint

●   Blinds: please wrap brackets and string to keep them organized and saleable.

●   Other items may be accepted. Please call 218-284-5253 to ask.

Does the ReStore pick items up?

Yes! Call 218-284-5253 ext. 2 and leave a message with your name, phone number, and items you have that need to be picked up.

We will contact you to schedule a time to pick up your items.

What are the ReStore's hours?

The ReStore is open

Tuesday-Friday: 10am-6pm and Saturday: 10am-4pm

We are closed Sunday-Monday

How will I know if the appliances for sale work?

All of our appliances are cleaned and tested before getting placed on our sales floor.


How do I sign up to volunteer?

Explore our Volunteer Shifts and select the shift that you are interested in. Please fill the Volunteer Intake Form prior to signing up for a shift.

If you have any questions, contact LAHFH Volunteer Coordinator, Brianna Gruenberg:

Tel: (218) 359-0814
Email: brianna@lakeagassizhabitat.org

Do I need to have construction skills to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity?

We welcome people with any skill level to volunteer with us on the build site, even beginners. On-site construction leaders train volunteers in all aspects of building. You do have to be at least 16 years old to work on a Habitat construction site.

You can also volunteer and participate in a variety of other ways, from becoming an advocate to helping out in our ReStore. Check out all of our Volunteer Opportunities that support Habitat’s work.

Can I sign up to volunteer as an individual?

Yes! You do not need to be part of a group to volunteer with us. Check out our sign-up calendars to find Volunteer Shifts that work for you.

How should I prepare for my volunteer shift on the buildsite?

It is important to come prepared to be on a construction site. Learn about how you can best prepare yourself for being on the buildsite: Prepare for the Buildsite.

I have a background in construction, how can I help?

If you have prior experience with construction, you would be a perfect fit for our go-to crew. As a go-to crew homebuilding member, you’ll be called upon to bring your building skills and help us on a regular basis (what “regular” means is up to you) and on days when we need to catch up.

If you are skilled in a specific building trade, consider leading volunteer groups on the days we work on that task. You can find our daily build tasks on the volunteer sign-up calendar: Volunteer Registration

If you prefer to volunteer off of the worksite, we have plenty more go-to crews you can join. Learn more about our Go-To Crews here.