Honolulu Habitat for Humanity is great, but what do they do? Here’s what Executive Director Jim Murphy told us.

“In over 70 countries, Habitat For Humanity’s mission is to ensure that everyone has a decent place to live­ — by building new homes or fixing existing ones. Land is so costly in Hawai‘i that our work here is largely repairs.

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“People often think that Habitat for Humanity gives houses away to families in need,” says Murphy. “In fact, we partner with the homeowner, who assists with the repair project and assumes a zero interest mortgage to cover the costs of materials and labor.” Murphy calls it a “pay-forward sustainable model,” a kind of “hand up.” When homeowners pay back the mortgage, Habitat loans the money to other families.

Candidates for Habitat Honolulu’s Home Preservation Program may be covering their monthly expenses, but cannot afford to make repairs. Perhaps the home is unsafe, or the roof is leaking. Families may not be able to qualify for a bank loan. Others may be one illness or one job loss away from being homeless. Habitat steps in as an equity partner to help the homeowner get a new roof, ramps for wheelchair access, or repair termite damage. Small home preservation projects like installing new carpeting or bathroom grab bars to prevent falls can make a big difference in the safety, value and appearance of a home.

Habitat for Humanity also pulls in community volunteers to do the construction at a very low cost. They provide professional financial counseling and usually homeowner partners are able pay back their loan within seven years.

If you live on O‘ahu and need assistance or want to donate your skills, contact T.J. Joseph at 808-538-7575. You may also donate new and lightly used appliances, building materials and furniture to the Honolulu Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Austin Lane. It’s a great place to find bargains for your home improvement projects! All sales fund Honolulu Habitat’s mission. Neighbor islands may google search “Habitat for Humanity” for the location of your local Habitat for Humanity and nearest ReStore.


922 Austin Lane, #C-1, Honolulu, HI 96817

808-538-7575  |  tj@honluluhabitat.org