The concept that grew into Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia. Koinonia Farm was founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan.
The Fullers first visited Koinonia in 1965. They had recently left a successful business and an affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama to begin a new life of Christian service.
At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of "partnership housing." The concept centred on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses
The houses would be built at no profit and interest would not be charged on the loans. Building costs would be financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity.” The fund's money would come from the new homeowners' house payments, no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fund-raising activities. The monies in the Fund for Humanity would be used to build more houses.
Habitat for Humanity began in Northern Ireland in 1993 by Peter Farquharson and his wife Jane McCarthy.
Peter and Jane had spent 3 months volunteering at Habitat International Head office in Atlanta before taking up the challenge of establishing Habitat in Northern Ireland.
When Habitat NI was established, Northern Ireland was still in the grip of ‘The Troubles’ and segregation of communities was at its most extreme. Peter envisioned to use the Habitat model locally as a way for communities and individuals to rebuild trust and restore relationships; bring Catholics and Protestants together to build houses with families in need – simply to build houses, build community and build hope.
Early in 2001, a group of individuals and representatives of churches and housing organisations from Dublin became interested in Habitat for Humanity's work. In June 2002, a core group headed to Durban, South Africa, for the Jimmy Carter Work Project to experience the work of Habitat for Humanity first-hand. Upon their return, they formed a steering board and started an affiliation process. In November 2002, Habitat for Humanity International's founder met with then President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin. On the same day the international board of directors approved the formation of Habitat for Humanity Ireland in Dublin.
In 2018, Habitat began to work across Ireland, becoming Habitat for Humanity Ireland with offices in Lisburn & Drogheda. Now, 30 years on from our beginnings in Iris Mews, Habitat Ireland engages volunteers from across the island, directly tackles poverty through our network of ReStores and raises funds to support vulnerable communities around the world to build or improve the place they call home.