Frequently Asked Questions
To learn about Millard and Linda Fuller, and the evolution of the organization that is now known as Habitat for Humanity, click here. To learn about the history of Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, click here.
GDM Habitat, with the help of the community, has built or rehabilitated 194 homes in greater Des Moines through 2012. In 2013, GDM Habitat plans to partner with 27 families through the homeownership program and an additional 83 families through Rock the Block®!
1986-2011: Celebrating 25 years in Des Moines!
• GDM Habitat is founded.
• Created first affordable homeownership opportunity.
• Habitat ReStore opens as a collaborative effort between GDM Habitat and Dowling Catholic High School’s Entrepreneurial Studies students. The Habitat ReStore sells new and lightly used building materials to the public at an affordable price. Proceeds from the Habitat ReStore benefit the mission of GDM Habitat.
• Recognized on a national level with the Clarence Jordan Award for the innovative partnership that created the Habitat ReStore.
• Received the Aurora Award given to an outstanding nonprofit for making a measurable difference, promoting unity, and significant contributions to the community.
• Habitat ReStore received the Metro Waste Authority Environmental Stewardship Award.
• Selected as one of only two affiliates in the nation to participate in the Thrivent Builds Neighborhood Pilot (TBN). GDM Habitat becomes the catalyst driving a collaborative partnership between 28 different agencies. Through these efforts the first Rock the Block neighborhood clean-up day is completed.
• Completed the 100th home in greater Des Moines.
• 144 homes have been completed at the end of 2010, 105 of those in the last five years.
• The Habitat 20/10 Build creates 10 new homeownership opportunities and adds more than $1 million in affordable housing to an under-developed neighborhood.
• Received Iowa Finance Authority’s Housing Iowa Award for Thrivent Builds Neighborhoods (TBN) recognizing TBN as an innovative program in the state of Iowa.
• Kicked off the 'It Starts at Home' Capital Campaign which included a move to an expanded facility for the organization (including the Habitat ReStore).
• Our strategic plan calls for an increase in building and renovating homes, continued collaborative partnerships that provide housing solutions, and growing our impact on neighborhood transformation.
Families wanting to partner with Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity must meet the following criteria:
- They must currently be living in substandard or cost-burdened housing
- They must be willing to volunteer 300-400 hours of “sweat equity”
- They must be able to repay an interest-free mortgage over 20 years
To learn more about homeownership with GDM Habitat, click here.
Habitat does not charge interest on its mortgages, nor do they profit from them. Mortgage payments from Habitat homeowners go towards building more Habitat homes. The Habitat model empowers families to help families.
Currently, a new construction three-bedroom Habitat house in Des Moines costs approximately $106,500. Prices will differ slightly depending on size and the costs of land and materials.
Habitat houses are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price, volunteer labor discounts the sale price, and no interest is charged on the mortgage.
Look at some of the places that GDM Habitat homeowners work:
Broadlawn’s Medical Center
Des Moines Public Schools
Indian Hills Community College
Mercy Medical Center
Optimae Life Services
Perishable Distributors of Iowa
Pine Ridge Farms
Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino
Visiting Nurse Services
Affiliates receive support from and work in partnership with faith groups, corporations, foundations, individual donors, and the Habitat ReStore. Click here to donate NOW!
Yes, you can! The scarcity of affordable land in the city of Des Moines is one of the many stumbling blocks to building affordable housing. Please help us build homes and hope, and break the cycle of poverty by donating your property or the funds to buy more land.
To donate your property for future Habitat development, please contact Jason Ekstrom at 515-471-8686 ext. 109.
Yes, we do! Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity’s In-Kind Donor program invites businesses and individuals in the greater Des Moines area to participate with Habitat for Humanity and our community to ensure that families in need have the opportunity to purchase a decent and affordable home.
Current Gift In-Kind needs include:
- Windows (white vinyl, Energy Star qualified)
- Siding (fiber cement - primed or painted, or vinyl)
- Drywall finishers
- Insulation (to fit in 24" o.c. construction)
- Roofing Materials
- Sub-Contractors (Electric, Plumbing, Heating&Cooling, Excavation)
For more information about in-kind donations please contact Jenna Nathan at 471-8686 ext.111.
No. In fact 90% of our volunteers have little to no construction experience. You will have a great opportunity to learn new skills and have fun in the process!
Construction volunteers must be at least 16 years-old. Volunteers ages 16 and 17 must have a parent/guardian sign their waiver of liability and be accompanied to the site by an adult who is legally responsible for them. Youth groups volunteering on the construction site must have a ratio of one (1) adult to every four (4) youths. Please let us know in advance if you are planning to bring youth. Click here to read our Youth Policy.
We prefer all-day commitment for Construction Volunteers – 8:15am-4:00pm. If you cannot commit to a whole day, please consider volunteering for a shift in our ReStore or on a Rock the Block project.
A positive attitude and close-toed shoes! Habitat will provide all the tools. Water is provided on site, but It might be a good idea to bring your own water bottle.
After you schedule a shift, you will be sent a confirmation e-mail with the address where you are volunteering, click here to see it on a map.
Construction and Rock the Block® volunteers are expected to report to the build site at 8:15 for registration. You will go over the tasks of the day, get safety information and learn more about Habitat. Be prepared to work hard, learn new skills and have fun! The work day wraps up around 4pm and you will have an hour break for lunch. You may bring a sack lunch to eat on site or you may eat at a local restaurant.
Habitat continues to build regardless of the weather, so it is best to come prepared. Dress in layers to cover all types of weather situations. Rain gear and wool clothing (or clothing with wicking material) are best for wet or cold days. If the weather becomes hazardous, we will suspend building activities for safety reasons. If the weather looks questionable for construction the morning of your workday, please call our weather hotline after 7:00 a.m. for delays or cancellations at (515) 471-8686 Ex. 350.
Sometimes it is necessary to move volunteers to a different site at the last minute due to weather or construction complications. If you arrive late and no one is at your scheduled site, call someone from your team or the Volunteer Manager’s cell phone at (515) 778-6708 to get re-route instructions.
Yes! All volunteers must complete a waiver. Waivers are included in the online registration for Construction and Rock the Block® volunteers. ReStore volunteers will complete a waiver and ReStore policy onsite.
Yes! We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of each of our volunteers, partner families, and staff members. Closed toe shoes are required on all volunteer sites, including the ReStore, and a hard hat and safety glasses are required for all construction and Rock the Block™ projects. Before your volunteer day it is helpful to watch this safety video. Upon completion of the online course, the Habitat affiliate you are volunteering for will receive a certificate of completion for their records.
The ReStore accepts new and gently used renovation materials, such as doors, windows, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, lighting, etc. Please call the ReStore at 309-0224 to ensure your donation will be accepted.
Some of the new and used materials you can purchase at ReStore includes:
Brick and Block
Laminate & Vinyl Flooring
A Faith-Based Foundation
Yes, Habitat is a Christian housing ministry. Habitat's ministry is based on the conviction that to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, we must love and care for one another. Our love must not be words only— it must be true love, which shows itself in action. Habitat provides an opportunity for people to put their faith and love into action. We bring diverse groups of people together to make affordable housing and better communities a reality for everyone.
Habitat has an open-door policy: All who desire to be a part of this work are welcome, regardless of religious preference or background. We have a policy of building with people in need regardless of race or religion. We welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.
A sense of global community within Habitat for Humanity is built in part by the affiliate tithe -- the sharing of a portion of an affiliate's resources with Habitat's work in another country.
GDM Habitat embraces their tithe commitment as a privilege, an opportunity to build with families beyond the immediate community. Currently GDM Habitat tithes to further HFHI work in El Salvador.
Currently, GDM Habitat is the 2nd largest tither to El Salvador and the 18th largest tither in the United States overall.