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Although Kern County has traditionally been one of California's most affordable communities for housing, decent housing remains out of reach for thousands of low-income residents. Many Kern County families survive in run-down and overcrowded houses, apartments, motel rooms and garages. Some pay as much as 75 percent of their income for grossly inadequate shelter. This prevents them from ever saving enough money to break the cycle of poverty. Habitat for Humanity breaks the cycle of poverty by building simple, decent houses in partnership with low-income families. Habitat is not a charity. Families contribute hundreds of hours of "sweat equity" to the construction of their homes and other Habitat projects. After completion of a house, the family makes a one-percent down payment as well as monthly mortgage payments. Habitat homes are affordable to very low-income families because ours is a no-profit, zero-interest mortgage. Mortgage payments are used to build more homes.
Habitat for Humanity homes are built using volunteer labor (skilled and unskilled) and donated funds and materials. A local board of directors from across the community oversees all work of Habitat for Humanity-Golden Empire (HFH-GE). Standing committees involve volunteers in family selection, site selection and development, family partnership, church relations, fund raising, public relations and construction. New committee members are always welcome. HFH-GE receives financial support, volunteer labor and in-kind contributions from individuals, churches, businesses and community organizations. HFH-GE is a tax-exempt California nonprofit corporation, and is tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.