Decent home, brighter future—this is why housing matters.

Virtually nowhere in the U.S. can a full-time minimum wage employee afford even a one room apartment. At Habitat for Humanity, we know that a decent home changes everything.

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, why it’s so crucial to a family’s health and well-being, read on.

Habitat for Humanity homeowner holding keys to home.

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.



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.



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.



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.

1 in 4
people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity, and opportunities.

of adults highlight home affordability as a top issue, second only to physical needs.

of surveyed Habitat homeowners in 44 U.S. cities said they could not have owned a home without help from Habitat for Humanity.

“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

The impact of adequate housing is real.

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 and setting families on a path toward opportunity.


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

good for all

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


Decent, affordable 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 that the whole community can enjoy.


A 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.

Habitat responds to these issues in real ways.

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 builds when you build 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.


Whatever your skill set, stage of life, or passion, there is a place for you.


Build the foundation of a family's future with a gift of any size.

Own a Home

Every one of us deserves a decent and affordable place to call home.


Donate and shop for home goods at the store that builds homes.