Metro Camden Habitat for Humanity

by R. Cohen, Margo Harvey | Aug 27, 2013
Metro Camden Habitat for Humanity Metro Camden Habitat for Humanity (MCHH), a Christian housing ministry, was founded in 1986 in response to the desperate plight of hard-working parents struggling to find decent housing for their children. They operate on the belief that each one of us is our brother's keeper and that, as people of faith, we own the problem that some of our neighbors don't have a decent place to live.

MCHH’s history dates back to 1985 when a physician, who had operated a practice at 2714 Westfield Ave., wanted to donate the house to charity. He contacted several local churches, but none expressed interest. He had heard of Habitat For Humanity and contacted them to donate the office. Habitat For Humanity International (HFHI) contacted several local churches to try to spark some interest in starting a local affiliate. First Baptist Church of Haddonfield and its minister, Jeff Middleton, jumped at the chance. They began holding meetings and tried to motivate other churches and individuals about the prospect of beginning an affiliate. In June of 1986, Metropolitan Camden Habitat For Humanity (MCHH) filed for incorporation as a non-profit organization in the state of New Jersey. In October of 1986, MCHH was received by HFHI as a new affiliate.

They don't seek government funding, turning instead to the private sector for financial support and trying to involve as many volunteers as are willing. Volunteer labor, cash and in-kind contributions and interest-free mortgages combine to make home ownership possible for families who could not otherwise afford to own their own home.

As opposed to charity, Habitat for Humanity embraces partnership with the poor. Every Habitat homeowner has worked "sweat equity" alongside the volunteers to earn their house. Every Habitat homeowner will pay full price for his or her house. Homeowners have a financial stake in their homes and their communities. Home ownership has been demonstrated to be critical to rebuilding stable communities.

MCHH subsidizes its homeowners by financing 99% of the purchase price at an interest rate of 0%. None of the families they've housed could have qualified for a bank mortgage—they couldn't afford the interest.

The whole point of affordable housing is to give a family the opportunity to have more money left over at the end of the month to use for other important things in life. How those choices are made is entirely up to the family. However, if a household doesn't wisely manage their money, they could still be no better off, not having the money saved for their dreams, let alone repairs to their house. Therefore MCHH requires home ownership training, including household budgeting, for every partner family.

They are not satisfied just placing families into pretty houses. MCHH promotes community in the neighborhoods in which it works, and provides education and support to help new homeowners succeed. They earnestly desire that their partner families commit themselves to the mutual support required to build a strong community. MCHH’s long-range goal is to leave behind attractive, vibrant neighborhoods that are desirable to live in.

MCHH has expanded their mission to include a Construction Trades Training Program (CTTP). Applications are being accepted now. Interested participants must be at least 18 years old and available full-time (Tuesday thru Saturday). Trainees receive a small stipend, as well as the opportunity to learn a wide range of construction skills while working on the houses. Timeframe is open-ended, ranging from 6-12 months, depending on the trainee. Call to set up an appointment for an interview: 856-963-8018.

The time has never been better to put your skills, compassion and enthusiasm to work. View the volunteer opportunities on their website to see how you can get involved with Metro Camden Habitat for Humanity today. There are opportunities for construction volunteers, non-construction volunteers, volunteer committees, and youth group/organization volunteer opportunities. Visit their website to find an opportunity that is right for you. 99% of Habitat's volunteers are unskilled. The most important prerequisite is a desire to help people.

Second, Habitat has a Family Partnership Committee, a Site Management Committee, a Hospitality Committee, and a Congregation & Public Relations Committee - all staffed by volunteers. Preparing a lunch for the Saturday construction volunteers is another way to help that is greatly appreciated. Maybe you could raise money to buy construction materials. Your church or synagogue could have a car wash, a yard sale, or a spaghetti dinner. You could sell SERRV handcrafted products and benefit Third World craftspeople, as well as MCHH.

Youth groups can find ways to get involved too. You could solicit donations of tools, building supplies or office equipment. You could contribute financially yourself. You could pray for the work of Habitat for Humanity. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Habitat for Humanity is always in need of donations. You can make a donation in a variety of ways: Send your financial contribution to P.O. Box 3311, Camden NJ 08101; make a contribution in honor of a special occasion (visit their website for more information on this); make a financial contribution online (this is a secure, convenient way to give using you credit card. For more information about why donating online to Habitat is safe, visit their website); contribute through the United Way campaign at your place of employment; or you can make a "material donation" by choosing an item from their Wish List on their site.

They also run ongoing ‘FUN’draiser activities to help with costs. Pennies for Palaces is an educational program for elementary school students who can help make dreams come true for Habitat Partner Families. Students learn about all aspects of Habitat for Humanity – volunteerism, Habitat’s roots and house construction. Then, the students have the opportunity to contribute themselves in the form of a coin collection. Any teacher or parent who would like to see ‘Pennies for Palaces’ come to your student’s school can call 856-963-8018 for more information.

Cars for Homes is another fundraiser program. The primary goal of this program is to generate unrestricted funds for the affiliate and to create broader public awareness of Habitat for Humanity’s mission locally and globally. Your donation is not only tax-deductible, but also helps the to continue building homes for families here in Camden. To find out more how you can donate your vehicle to support MCHH, call 1-877-277-4344 or visit today!

Now, you can also shop at Habitat's ReStore! They are always running special sales in addition to their already low prices, with new merchandise arriving daily. The best part of all--proceeds stay local to build affordable houses! There are stores in Cinnaminson, Pennsauken, and Pitman.

Store Hours are generally Tuesday through Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, 9am-4pm (closed Sunday and Monday).

Please mail Donations to Post Office Box Address:
Metro Camden Habitat for Humanity
P.O. Box 3311
Camden, NJ 08101
or click here for a donation form and additional information.

For more information, call 856-963-8018 or visit them on the web at Their administrative office is located at 6955 Central Highway in Pennsauken. The phone number there is 856-963-8018. For general inquiries, e-mail

Updated 8/26/13

© 2013. All rights reserved. This article or parts thereof may not be reprinted or reproduced by any other party without the express written consent of For more information, please call 856-797-9910.

For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.

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Author: R. Cohen, Margo Harvey


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