Introduction to Sweat Equity

What is sweat equity, and how does it work at Habitat for Humanity?

One core tenet of the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership program is the concept of Sweat Equity. It is a building block in Habitat’s mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

Sweat equity is a term used often when talking about the creation or building process. It’s about doing the work — the hard work — to bring an idea to life.

At Habitat for Humanity, Sweat Equity refers to the hands-on investment of the families who partner with us in helping to build their own homes and the homes of fellow Habitat families, participating in financial literacy and homeownership classes, or volunteering at our ReStore in Gurnee.

Sweat Equity is a crucial building block in building partnerships between current and future homeowners, our staff members, and volunteers.

Why is Sweat Equity important?

Sweat equity brings our partner families to the site so they can learn and get involved in the construction of their homes. At Habitat for Humanity Lake County, we believe that there are three important benefits that Sweat Equity provides:

  1. Partnership

    Through working alongside our staff and volunteers, Habitat homeowners form meaningful connections with our volunteers and staff.
  2. Pride of Ownership

    When working on the build site of their own homes, partner families play an active role in the creation of their home—instilling a sense of pride in their long-term investment in a way few homeowners have an opportunity to experience.
  3. Learn New Skills and Gain Knowledge

    Sweat Equity hours are about more than partner families investing in their homes. Through active participation on our build sites and financial literacy and homeownership classes, partner families gain the skills and knowledge that help them to be successful homeowners.  Sweat Equity builds capabilities, confidence, and community!

How does Sweat Equity work at Habitat for Humanity Lake County?

Once a partner family is approved to become a part of our Homeownership Program, they must complete 500 Sweat Equity hours before moving into their homes. Partner families may recruit others—like friends, co-workers, volunteers, members of their congregation, and others—to help complete their Sweat Equity hours.

4 ways partner families can complete sweat equity hours with Habitat:

  1. Working at the construction site participating in activities like painting, drywall, landscaping, flooring, siding, and more.
  2. Volunteering as a greeter or helping customers at our Habitat ReStore in Gurnee.
  3. Volunteering at the Habitat office by writing thank you cards to local donors or performing administrative tasks.
  4. Participating in homeowner workshops and classes to learn about their mortgage, insurance, maintenance, home safety, and more.