The Porter County Story


A group of concerned citizens in Valparaiso came together in 1994 to create a Habitat for Humanity affiliate chapter in response to a critical need for decent, affordable housing. The local chapter adopted a covenant and by-laws that were approved by Habitat for Humanity International, and we continue to operate as an officially sanctioned affiliate..

In 1976, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) began as a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI’s stated mission is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. People of all backgrounds, races, and religions are invited to build houses together in partnership with families in need. Since 1976, HFHI has built more than 50,000 houses in the United States and another 100,000-plus homes in communities around the world. Habitat has operations in 92 countries, and a house is built every 26 minutes. By 2005, it is expected that Habitat houses will shelter 1,000,000 people.

Since our chapter began, we have completed twelve homes in partnership with families in need of affordable shelter. Each family provides five hundred hours of sweat equity on their own home and in other parts of the local ministry. They also provide a down payment and must make monthly mortgage payments. Homes are sold to partner families at no profit and are financed
Our affiliate operates independently to coordinate all aspects of homebuilding in our community – fundraising, building site selection, partner family selection and support, house construction, and mortgage servicing. The regional and international offices of Habitat provide information, training, and a variety of other support services. Our affiliate tithes ten percent of our contributions to support homebuilding in other countries, and we work closely with the student Habitat chapter at Valparaiso University. HFHI receives no government funds that are directly designated for home construction. Local residents, churches, and businesses support our work through their generous donations of labor, funds, and equipment.

Our chapter works directly with social service agencies in our community to provide information to families who may have an interest in becoming Habitat homeowners. The family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program, and their ability to repay a no-interest mortgage loan. We have strict guidelines that follow a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection, and neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing families who receive Habitat houses.

Since 1994, we have completed twelve houses, serving 45 people in twelve families. The need for affordable housing in our community continues to grow. Recent articles in the local press highlighted the overwhelming need for both emergency housing for the homeless and permanent housing for low-income families. In response to this critical need in our community, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Valparaiso seeks to work in partnership with residents, businesses, churches, and social service agencies to provide quality affordable housing.