Every financial gift helps families build a better life for themselves. Donate Now ›

Learn more about why housing matters.

The need for affordable housing is immense, and the lasting impact it can have on families is undeniable. We believe in a world where everyone has a decent place to live. A safe, decent, and affordable home offers families and individuals the opportunity to take care of themselves and build their own futures. If you’re wondering why housing matters and why it’s so crucial to a family’s health and well-being, read on. 

One in four people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity and opportunities.

Housing Need Is All Around Us

The MacArthur Foundation released results from a survey of U.S. adults conducted to inform the work of the Foundation’s How Housing Matters initiative. The results of the How Housing Matters survey point out why housing matters and reveals that the concerns and challenges related to affordable, quality housing are very real for many Americans. These findings show us there is more work to be done; we remain committed to a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to call home.



More than half of all adults have made at least one tradeoff in the past three years to cover their rent or mortgage. Tradeoffs include taking second jobs, cutting back on health care and healthy food, and moving to less safe neighborhoods.



In every region of the U.S. — Northeast, South, Midwest and West — anywhere from 53 to 69 percent of adults classify the purchase of affordable housing as challenging in their community.



Fifty-eight percent of adults say that a family of four with an income of about $50,000 would have a hard time finding affordable quality housing. That number skyrockets to 88 percent for a family of four with an income closer to $24,000.



Most believe that friends and family who are getting older will face challenges meeting their housing needs. Sixty-five percent of adults highlight affordability as a top issue, second only to an individual’s physical needs as they age.

The Impact of Adequate Housing

Housing is central to ending the cycle of poverty and it can play a key role in positively influencing a family’s education, employment and health opportunities.

Adequate shelter is a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty.

Homeownership is a form of wealth accumulation through equity and forced savings from mortgage repayment.

Decent shelter contributes to thriving school systems, community organizations and civic activism.

Good housing attracts economic investment and development.


Safe homes and neighborhoods help to build social stability and security.

good for all
Adequate housing is key to the health of the world’s economies, communities and populations.

A 2011 study conducted in 44 U.S. cities by The Center for Applied Research at the University of Southern Indiana showed significant increases in Habitat homeowners’ self-esteem, well-being, overall family health and neighborhood pride. 90% said they could not have owned a home without help from Habitat.

“Families in Habitat houses prove every day that decent, affordable housing is a critical step on the ladder of opportunity.”

Henry Cisneros, Habitat for Humanity International Board Member and Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Habitat’s Response to These Important Issues

We build. We repair and rehabilitate. We seek to further understand why housing matters, and why a decent, affordable home is so intricately woven into a healthy and vibrant future. We advocate for vital resources to build homes and improve communities. We partner with families to improve — and stabilize — their housing conditions. With your time and financial support, we can make a tangible impact that will last for generations.

four minutes
Every four minutes, Habitat serves a family in need of better housing.

6.8 million
Habitat has helped more than 6.8 million people since our founding in 1976.

Habitat works in more than 1,400 communities in the United States, and in more than 70 countries worldwide, from Argentina to Zambia.

2 million
About 2 million volunteers work with Habitat every year worldwide.

Habitat works when you work with Habitat.

Understanding why housing matters is a great first step. Now, it’s time to do something about it. When we partner together, we can offer families the opportunity to help themselves. Whether you donate, volunteer, partner with us, or advocate on our behalf, you can offer hard-working people a hand up, not a hand out. Learn more today.

How Habitat Works


Every hand can make a difference with Habitat for Humanity. Whatever your skill set, stage of life, or passion, there is a place for you here.


Every gift creates the opportunity to build a better life. When you make a donation, big or small, you’re building the foundation of a family’s bright future.

Own A Home

Every one of us deserves a decent and affordable place to call home. We partner with hard-working families who could use a hand up, not a hand out.