Frequently Asked Questions
What is Habitat for Humanity Singapore?
Habitat for Humanity Singapore is part of Habitat for Humanity, a global nonprofit Christian housing organisation that focuses on helping millions of people worldwide to obtain safe and decent housing, along with the strength, stability and independence to build better lives. We do this by working with volunteers, communities and in collaboration with other charities to fulfill Habitat's vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Habitat Singapore is a registered Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) under NCSS.
How does it work?
Through a combination of volunteer labour, monetary and material donations, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. In Global Village, Habitat homeowners often contribute a portion of their new house's material costs houses are sold to partner families through managable month increments. Additionally, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labour,called 'sweat equity', into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. Habitat is, therefore, not a giveaway programme but a self-help programme.
In Project HomeWorks , where we clean up the houses of the elderly poor, the approach varies as we are dealing with living environments instead of building houses. We first identify families in need by partnering agencies that work with the families directly. Surveys are then conducted to ensure that we are providing the correct help needed. Habitat for Humanity Singapore then begins logistical planning; acquiring the necessary equipment like furniture and cleaning tools before engaging volunteers. After the clean-up session, Habitat continues to monitor the households' living environment, collaborating with relevant agencies to provide additional support.
How are donations distributed and used?
Donations, whether to a local Habitat affiliate or to Habitat for Humanity International, are used as designated by the donor. Gifts received by Habitat for Humanity International that are designated to a specific affiliate or building project will be forwarded to that affiliate or project.
In Singapore, Habitat for Humanity is an Institute of Public Character (IPC), adhering to the supervision of the Commissioner of Charities. Habitat for Humanity Singapore is also under the financial and governance supervision of Habitat for Humanity International, with the regional Asia-Pacific headquarters located in Manila/Bangkok.
What is the difference between Global Village, Sawadee Build and Batam Build?
Global Village (GV) is the main term we use for our typical overseas build trips. Through GV, we mobilises teams of volunteers to help sustain the ongoing house building projects organised by Habitat national offices in various cpuntries. Due to the pressing need for decent shelter in the Asia Pacific, we concentrate most of our efforts in supporting Habitat builds within the region although our work is not limited to Asia. These trips are typically 5- to 10- days long.
Sawadee Build is a special tie-up we have with Habitat Thailand for short 3- to 5- day trips. Teams who choose to do a Sawadee Build are expected to arrange everything on their own outside of the build site. Habitat Thailand will help to arrange pick teams up to and from the hotel to the build site, any meals at the build site and construction supervision, tools and materials.
Batam Build is designed as a short-term alternative for those who are unable to take a long break. Builds can be as short as 1 day (either on a Friday or Saturday) where participants leave in the morning for Batam, and return to Singapore by the evening; to a maximum of 2 days (starting on Friday and ending on Saturday).
How do I sign up as an individual?
I do not have any build experience. Would this be an issue?
No build experience is required. All Habitat worksite will have skilled construction staff that will be present to guide all volunteers.
What are trip costs like?
In addition to the in-country cost (such as accommodation, meals, water, Habitat's compulsory accident & illness insurance, local ground transport), each team will need to fundraise a minimum team donation to help the respective country’s building project. Teams are also required to arrange for their own airfare, travel insurance and visa (if applicable). For full costs breakdown and details, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does a typical itinerary look like?
This is what a rough itinerary looks like for one-week GV trip (5-day build) —
Day 1: travel to build location, welcome orientation, rest.
Day 2-6: travel to build site, work on construction (with lunch and breaks in-between), return back to accomodation, rest.
Day 7: depart back to Singapore
Build trip itineraries are flexible and subjected to the team leader's decision.
How much does a Habitat house cost?
The cost of a house varies from as little as US$800 in some developing countries to an average of US$59,324 in the United States. Habitat houses are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest charged on the mortgage. Mortgage length varies from 7 - 30 years.
How are the partner families selected?
Families in need of decent shelter apply to local Habitat affiliates. The affiliate's family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the programme and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. All Habitat offices follow a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families who receive Habitat houses.
What are some common characteristics of a Habitat house?
Habitat houses are built in different styles, using different materials depending on local designs, weather conditions and building standards. However, Habitat for Humanity applies these guiding principles for house-building worldwide:
Simple. Habitat houses are modestly sized - large enough for the homeowner family's needs, but small enough to keep construction and maintenance costs to a minimum.
Decent. Habitat uses quality, locally-available building materials. Trained staff supervise Habitat house construction and educate volunteers and partner families. House designs reflect the local climate and culture.
Affordable. The labour of volunteers and partner families, efficient building methods, modest house sizes and a no-profit, no-interest loan make it affordable for low-income communities around the world to purchase a Habitat for Humanity house.
How can I sign up to volunteer as an individual with Project HomeWorks?
Do you take donated furniture for Project HomeWorks?
As we deal with multiple cases in Singapore that requires furniture replacement, we do not take in single units of furniture. Instead, we work with vendors to cater standardised sets of furniture at a discounted rate for all our HomeWorks cases.
I’m a social worker. How do I get help from Project HomeWorks for my elderly client?