History and Ministry

Oneida County Habitat for Humanity – who we are and what we do.



Oneida County Habitat for Humanity is a local affiliate of the international non-profit Christian housing ministry, Habitat for Humanity International (Habitat), working to eliminate poverty housing all over the world. A social service agency, home-builder and mortgage lender, Habitat partners with volunteers and families on a non-discriminatory basis to build simple, decent, affordable houses and sell them to qualified homeowners with a no-interest loan. Habitat serves families who live in sub-standard housing and are unable to qualify for conventional home funding, yet have stability of income and credit history to demonstrate the ability to repay their Habitat mortgage.

Habitat houses families house by house, block by block. The impact of this housing and holistic approach to neighborhood revitalization carries into the whole community and into the future. Children of Habitat homeowners are more likely to stay in the same schools, and go on to college. Neighborhoods are developed with homes of decent quality and pride of ownership. Habitat volunteers grow in awareness of the whole community and develop relationships that level socio-economic barriers.

Formed on July 10, 1990, Oneida County Habitat for Humanity works within the geographic boundaries of Oneida County, New York. OCHFH has built or rehabbed 21 houses, housing 66 people to date. The past (5) years has seen rapid expansion of the affiliate: from one house every 18 months to homes being built every 10 months. Within the next 2 years, Oneida County Habitat for Humanity plans to increase to a greater building capacity.

We build and re-habilitate energy efficient, safe, simple, decent, and affordable homes through the use of volunteer labor.  We partner with families in the building of their homes and train families to be successful homeowners. We repair and revitalize existing homes with the A Brush with Kindness program, through the use of volunteer labor and partner with families as successful homeowners in need of assistance to maintain their homes. In 2012 OCHFH will launch Habitat for Heroes, a veteran’s initiative to address the needs of those heroes with handicap accessible modifications and home repairs.

Local History:

Oneida County Habitat for Humanity (OCHFH)was founded in 1990 as the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. We serve all of Oneida County. Habitat affiliates are all independent and locally run nonprofit organizations. Each affiliate is responsible for coordinating all aspects of Habitat home building its local area, including fundraising, building site selection, partner family selection and support, house construction and mortgage servicing. To help support HfHI’s work, each year OCHFH tithes a portion of our undesignated contributions to Habitat for Humanity International to fund house-building work in other nations. Since our inception, OCHFH has tithed over $24,000.00 to our partner countries, enabling the building of more than 9 homes internationally.


As a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization, OCHFH is dedicated to elimating substandard housing – making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Our ministry was founded on the deep conviction that everyman, woman and child should have a simple, decent place to live in dignity and safety. OCHFH has an open-door policy. We welcome everyone who desires to be a part of our work. We build with people in need regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity and we welcome volunteers and supporters of all backgrounds. Habitat is driven by the desire to give tangible expression to the love of God through the work of eliminating poverty housing. Our mission and methods are predominately derived from a few key theological concepts.

  • Putting faith into action

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.

  • The economics of Jesus

When we act in response to human need, giving what we have without seeking profit, we believe God magnifies the effects of our efforts. We refer to this perspective as “the economics of Jesus.” Together, the donated labor of construction volunteers, the support of partner organizations and the homeowners’ “sweat equity” make Habitat’s mission possible.

  • The theology of the hammer

Everyone can use the hammer as an instrument to manifest God’s love. Habitat’s late founder Millard Fuller, called this concept “the theology of the hammer.” We may disagree on all sorts of other things,” said Fuller, “but we can agree on the idea of building homes with God’s people in need, and in doing so using biblical economics: no profit and no interest.”   Non-proselytizing policy Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations will not proselytize. Nor will HfH work with entities or individuals who insist on proselytizing as part of their work with HfH. This means that HfH will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must adhere to or convert to a particular faith or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.

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