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Habitat for Humanity

Vanessa Lewis
Steve Ash
Jennifer Young
Victoria Evans
Habitat for Humanity
The host organization our group will be evaluating is Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for
Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, GA. It is a faith-based
organization that utilizes volunteer labor, donations of building materials, and monetary
donations to build modest homes for those who would otherwise not be able to afford home
ownership. They operate recycled building supply stores called, “Restores”. They offer low
interest loans and financing to the families buying the homes. They also require that the new
owners participate in the construction of the house by providing hands-on labor, what they refer
to as 'sweat equity'. Additional services they offer are financial education, disaster response,
retail stores and help with the aged. To date, the organization has helped provide over 600,000
houses and more than 3 million people worldwide.
The key activities of the Habitat homebuyer’s program include securing financing
through lenders, materials through either purchasing or donations, building the house using a
combination of professional and volunteer labor, and offering the homebuyers financial
counseling and education.
At this point in our discussions, we have identified two problems to consider addressing.
We hope to narrow it down after speaking to an organization representative. The first issue we
are considering is the difficulties associated with qualifying for Habitat for Humanity’s program.
We are curious about the financial qualifications required, the physical abilities needed for the
“sweat equity,” and any other requirements that may serve as obstacles for some in need. The
second problem we are interested in learning more about is a bit more apropos of today’s global
problem, the COVID pandemic. While we do not know the details of Habitat for Humanity’s
disaster plans, we are skeptical that there was a plan to address business continuity in a global
pandemic. We are interested in learning if they have been able to keep up with their building
goals and how they may have adapted them for the safety of all involved. We are also curious if
the pandemic has affected their finances and ability to follow through on home building projects.
Lastly, we are wondering what has happened to families that were expecting homes in the last
year and beyond.
Some of the key stakeholders in this evaluation are the program managers and the
director of the local Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity. Other stakeholders would be
the employees working for the local agency, and perhaps the clients of the agency. The
stakeholders will be engaged in the evaluation process as candidates for interviews and queries
we will make to gather information for our evaluation.
Throughout the process of conducting our evaluation we are likely to experience several
challenges and face different obstacles in our intended design and evaluation plan. First, we may
encounter difficulties in gathering all the information we seek. Some of the questions we have
may be more easily answered than others and some information will likely be readily available to
us. However, it is possible that upon asking deeper questions, the organization may not have all
the data we are looking to obtain. If the organization has not gone through the efforts of
conducting extensive research themselves, there may be a lack of data and statistics for us to
utilize. Furthermore, we will also be somewhat dependent on the contacts we have for
representatives from the organization. Hopefully, we are able to establish a good relationship
with a representative from Habitat for Humanity and utilize them as a helpful resource during
our evaluation efforts. Communication will likely take some time and patience, but we hope our
conversations will be beneficial and productive. Although, there is certainly the possibility that
our contact may not have access to desired data or the ability to speak to all of our questions.
They may not have much time to spend conversing with us. Therefore, we are at the mercy of
their willingness and ability to help.
Further, through our evaluation we may discover that Habitat for Humanity faces some
challenges in their program design and evaluation. Especially in light of the global pandemic, we
might witness very relevant obstacles the nonprofit is facing currently. It is important for
nonprofits to have some cushion built into their plans in case unexpected troubles arise. It will be
interesting to discover if and to what extent Habitat for Humanity was prepared to handle these
unexpected circumstances. The textbook notes that “in very turbulent situations, evaluators may
experience uncertain and changing political and other stakes for different stakeholders”
(Newcomer et al., 2015). It is possible that through the effects of COVID-19, a larger group of
people are in need of the services Habitat for Humanity offers. Additionally, it will be insightful
to hopefully learn about evaluations the organization has conducted in the past, what type of
results came from these efforts, and if there were any difficulties in determining their purpose or
design. Further, with the pandemic, it is possible that new challenges in regards to conducting
evaluations, how to decipher results, and implement findings may have occurred over the past
several months.
Works Cited
Newcomer, K.E, Hatry, H. P., & Wholey, J. S. 2015. Handbook of Practical Program
Evaluation. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.