Did you know that Habitat for Humanity operates in more than 70 countries around the world? Here in Canada, we have 56 Habitat affiliates across the country. With so many Habitats, you might be wondering how to donate to your local affiliate, and where your donation goes. Here’s a primer on donating to Habitat for Humanity based on some of the questions we are often asked by our donors and community members.
Which Habitat is my local affiliate?
Since there is Habitat for Humanity affiliates all over Canada, we get a lot of questions about which one is the most appropriate place for your donation. Each Habitat affiliate serves different regions.
We’re often asked if the areas in our catchment are represented by Habitat GTA since those areas are technically in the GTA. However, there is a distinction between the areas in which our affiliates serve. The title of Habitat GTA was decided by our national board of directors a few years ago when Habitat for Humanity Toronto merged with the York and Brampton Habitat affiliates.
Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga represents Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills and Georgetown. Habitat for Humanity GTA serves Brampton, Caledon, Toronto, Scarborough and the region of York. Habitat Durham represents Ajax, Oshawa and Uxbridge, and Habitat Hamilton serves the region of Hamilton.
There are Habitat locations in cities including Ajax, Brampton, Brantford, Burlington, Cambridge, Hamilton, Milton, Mississauga, St. Catharines, Toronto, Waterloo and more. To find your closest Habitat ReStore, check out Habitat for Humanity Canada’s ReStore locator.
What makes Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga different?
Each Habitat affiliate is its own organization. Although every Habitat seeks to build homes for local families, each one goes about this mission in a slightly different way. Here at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, we think outside-of-the-box about ways to better serve our community.
We have expanded our definition of a “family” and use innovative partnerships with community organizations to ensure all types of families can have access to decent shelter. We recently completed a build for three men with varying levels of autism in partnership with Community Living North Halton.
We’re also focusing on different segments of the population who need access to affordable housing since the need is widespread. We are in discussion with partners for the provision of seniors’ housing. We’re also working to improve the living conditions of individuals in our community through our Handyman program, which will see a team offer home improvement and repair services.
This will allow individuals and families, especially seniors, to stay in their homes for longer periods of time, and will ultimately increase the stock of affordable housing in our communities. We’ve also recently launched our deferred homeownership model, which allows us to keep homes in perpetuity and keep them designated as affordable housing units.
What’s the difference between donating to Habitat for Humanity Canada and donating to a local affiliate?
When you give money to Habitat for Humanity Canada, they keep a portion of your donation to cover administrative costs and donate the remaining amount to the local affiliate if you direct them to, otherwise, it is seen as a contribution to Habitat Canada.
You can donate to Habitat Canada and specifically designate that you would like your donation to go to a certain affiliate. However, when you do this Habitat Canada still charges an administrative fee to cover processing the donation.
To make sure that your full donation goes towards your local affiliate, donate straight to your local affiliate in-person or online through their website. This will ensure that 100% of your donation goes to home building efforts in your community, while also ensuring that you can get any questions answered right from your local affiliate.
What happens when you donate to Habitat?
At Habitat Halton-Mississauga, we’re proud to say that 100 per cent of your monetary donation goes towards our build projects. We are able to cover our administrative costs through funds raised from the sale of donated items in our ReStores. That means that when you donate, your money is having a direct and positive impact on our efforts to build homes for local families in need of safe, decent and affordable housing.
Did you know that 56 per cent of our construction costs occur before we put a shovel in the ground? Habitat needs to pay for land, planning submissions, permits and other pre-building costs. We have the same costs as any other home developer but, because of our status as a nonprofit, it can be challenging to amass the upfront costs necessary for our builds.
But your donation helps. When you help us cover our upfront costs by donating, we can do things such as purchasing land, supplies and materials. That means that after the construction of the family’s home — during which they volunteer 500 hours of “sweat equity” — the family pays their mortgage (which is a long-term, no interest mortgage tailored to no more than 30 per cent of their overall income) back to Habitat. Then that money goes back into our revolving fund so that we can build more homes for more deserving local families.
Why haven’t I heard from Habitat Halton-Mississauga after my donation?
We thank our thousands of donors whose generosity allows us to continue the work we do in our communities. On occasion, we have heard from donors that they haven’t heard a follow-up from us after they donated. If you don’t receive a thank you email, or an invite to an event via email, you might not have donated to Habitat Halton-Mississauga.
The transaction information from your donation may say Mississauga on it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it came from Habitat Halton-Mississauga because Habitat Canada’s processing agent is located in Mississauga.
Can I donate online?
Yes! Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga offers several donation opportunities. You can make a one-time donation or sign up to make a monthly donation as a Hope Builder. You can also donate items such as used furniture, appliances or clothing to our ReStores. Whatever you choose to give, we’re grateful for your contribution. Together, we can break the cycle of poverty and create a world where everyone has a safe place to call home.