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Why Does Housing Matter?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Impact of Housing is Real

Housing is central in helping everyone thrive – it plays a key role in positively influencing a family’s education, employment, and health opportunities.

Financial Freedom

Adequate shelter is a critical foundation for creating financial independence and setting families on a path toward opportunity.


Decent, affordable shelter contributes to thriving school systems, community organizations and civic activism.

Good for Everyone

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


Good housing attracts economic investment and development.


Safe homes and neighborhoods help to build social stability and security that the whole community can enjoy.


Studies show significant increases in Habitat homeowners’ self-esteem, well-being, overall family health, and neighborhood pride.

“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

With Your Help - We Respond Together

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.

17 Seconds

Around the world, every 17 seconds, Habitat serves a family in need of better housing.

29 Million

Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped 29 million people achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

1.4 Million

1.4 volunteers pick up hammers every year, in more than 1,400 communities in the United States and more than 70 countries worldwide.

It All Starts With You

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 donatevolunteerpartner with us, or advocate on our behalf, you can offer hard-working people a hand up, not a handout. Learn more today

How Habitat Works

You Donation Today Will Build a Strong Foundation for More Families