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Habitat for Humanity History

By Lydia Krug

Tags: Habitat for Humanity, affordable housing, green building,

Most people have at least heard of Habitat for Humanity. It’s an ecumenical Christian organization that gathers volunteers to build homes for low-income families. That’s the gist of it, anyway. When I dug a little deeper and sifted through the ol’ letters in the attic of the house (so to speak), I uncovered some interesting details.

Today, one such detail I learned is how and why Habitat for Humanity came into existence.

Habitat’s founders, Millard and Linda Fuller, started the organization in 1976, but not before doing some heavy soul-searching. I was surprised to discover that Millard had actually become a millionaire by age 29 after successfully beginning a marketing firm with a friend. However, crises in marriage, health and faith led him and his wife, Linda, to reevaluate everything in their lives.

Millard Fuller Habitat for Humanity

The couple sold all their possessions, gave their money to the poor and moved to Koinonia Farm, a Christian community near Americus, Georgia. It was there that the Fullers gained an interest in low-income housing assistance, and in 1973 they took that interest to Africa to test their model. It was so successful that they decided this affordable housing program could be applied all over the world to help families build homes and Habitat Builds in 3,000 Communitiesself-sufficiency.

And so, Habitat for Humanity International was born out of little money, a bold step and a lot of inspiration. Habitat has built more than 300,000 homes in more than 3,000 communities around the world. 

Check out Habitat For Humanity Goes Green! (April/May 2003) to learn more about Habitat and its green building practices.

To learn more about the organization and how to help, visit the Habitat for Humanity website.