30 Years In Durham

Durham Habitat was founded in 1985 - 30 years ago!
It all started with Habitat mission trips. From 1982 to 1984, Watts Street Baptist Church led mission trips to build in Tennessee and Maryland. As the trips grew in popularity, Worth Lutz, Dick Chorley, Floyd Fletcher, Joe Lee, Jr. and others began exploring the feasibility of founding a Habitat affiliate in Durham.
They recognized the housing need right here in their home town and decided to do something about it. Durham Habitat grew from Durham's faith community, commitment to service, and belief in true partnership.
Rev. Joe Harvard, former pastor of Durham's First Presbyterian Church and a founding leader of Durham Habitat, famously said, "The Habitat train is leaving the station. If you want to join us, you better get on board."

In October 1985, Durham Congregations in Action (DCIA), an organization of 24 churches and faith communities, came together to officially found Habitat for Humanity of Durham. Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat International in Americus, Georgia, spoke at First Presbyterian Church on founding day. 

Click here to see video of that inspirational speech. 

Early wall raising

In 1989, Trinity United Methodist Church, a DCIA member, offered free office space to the new organization. Trinity UMC is still Durham Habitat's home today.

The “Habitat train” has made a tangible difference in Durham. Since 1985, we have helped more than 320 Durham families achieve their home ownership goals, and have provided critical repairs that allow hundreds of our neighbors to eliminate risk of eviction and stay in their homes. More than 750 kids in Durham now have brighter futures.

We're proud to say that it took 20 years to build the first 150 homes here in Durham and only these last 10 years to build another 170. The need is still great with tens of thousands of Durham neighbors still living in substandard housing. 

We’ve also provided funding for more than 210 homes internationally with our Home for a Home program. While our focus is certainly the housing need in Durham, we understand that need is relative. We are proud to support our sister affiliate in Honduras with a yearly tithe and yearly mission trips.

While always remain tied to our roots of faith, Durham Habitat strives to be innovative and fully inclusive in our work to end substandard housing in Durham and abroad. We partner with those who share our values of love, respect, compassion, and justice for all. We welcome those of any faith – or no faith – to join us in building homes, hope, and community.

Thank you to our founders and partners 30 years of building homes, hope, and community in Durham!


Habitat Success Stories

Twenty years ago, Bob came to a Habitat construction site, and he's been volunteering since. "Framing is the fun part," Bob says, "but my favorite task is roofing." He also leads a youth group in making rain barrels for each Habitat home.